It appears the Senate is finally ready to pass the PIB as it leads other major issues which the Senate says it will pay serious attention to.
The upper chamber Wednesday passed the Petroleum Industry Bill [PIB] into second reading
The latest development is part of efforts by senators to reposition the economy.
The PIB is moved for second reading by the chairman of Senate Committee on Petroleum, Upstream, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura, APC, Ondo Central.
Ahead of debate on the PIB, senators from the Niger Delta areas had moved for the suspension of the bill some months ago.
This, according them, is because they believed that the non-inclusion of the community demands in the first phase might aggravate the tension in the oil producing areas.
They concluded plans to brainstorm on the resuscitation of the bill and ensure that the work on its passage moves at a top speed.
The plan is to ensure that the PIB is passed before the end of the legislative sitting for 2016.
Senate passed the Bill into second reading unbundling Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC] into two commercial entities limited by shares.
The two entities will be the National Petroleum Company and the National Assets Management Company.
The scaled into first reading by April, 2016.
The bill titled:” A bill for an Act to provide for the Governance and Institutional Framework for the petroleum industry and for other related matters, 2016(SB.237) was sponsored by Senator Donald Alasoadura.
Leading the debate on the bill, Senator Alasoadura said the PIB was first introduced in 2008, but that it was not passed in previous administrations of the national assembly.
He said the objective of the bill was to create efficient institutions, and to promote transparency in the administration of petroleum resources in the country.
Alasoadura said the bill was the first in a series of its kind to reform the petroleum industry, adding that it would cure some of the ills in the sector.
He said, “This bill provides for the unbundling of the NNPC into two independent entities, which are the National Petroleum Company (NPC) and National Asset Management Company.
“It also provides for the establishment of a single petroleum regulatory commission which will focus mainly on regulating the industry.
“The poor performance of the NNPC is a major concern. The commercialisation of the corporation and its splitting into two entities is for more efficiency and to enhance performance.”
Senator James Manager in his contribution said:
“The discovery of oil in commercial quantities at a place called Oloibiri, in the present day Bayelsa State, has brought blessings to all Nigerians and blessings to all those who are not Nigerians but have been dealing with us from outside the country. But behold, this discovery of oil that has brought blessings to all of us is also a curse to the Niger Delta people.
“A very terrible curse to the Niger Delta people. You need to see things for yourself.
“A visit to Oloibiri, where oil was discovered in commercial quantities before the independence of this country in 1960 will tell the full story.
“The presentation of another bill or another law for the oil industry without taking together the interest of the oil bearing communities appears to be very, very, incomplete and very insincere.
“But I have been absolved and all of us have been absolved and by extension the Niger Delta people have been absolved that the next legislative of this all important bill would be the aspect that concerns the oil bearing communities.
“Of course, my respected colleagues, the concluding part of the lead debate speaks volumes about what this bill is all about.
“That the bill possess a very slim, focused and yet robust framework for effective institutional governance of the Nigerian petroleum industry.
“That is what the concluding part of this bill is all about. But whether you like it or not, the objectives of this bill can only be achieved in a very peaceful environment, an environment that is peaceful and friendly, and that is the Niger Delta.
“I speak with a lot of passion because I am from the Niger Delta.
“In fact, beyond the boundary of my senatorial district, we have boundaries with the rest of the world.
“And therefore, when I speak about the oil bearing communities, I speak with a lot of passion and a lot of ill feelings.
“Therefore, if the next batch of the debate or of the Petroleum Industry Bill is about the oil bearing communities, then I have no option than to support this bill.
“And if this is supported, I hope and pray that in the final analysis, whatever we do and whatever we say here particularly laws that we make here are laws that must be implementable.
“And you can only implement the laws where there is peace and tranquility.”
He concluded that the oil bearing communities deserve 10 percent from the oil revenue.
But, Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki countered Senator Manager saying that what we have done here is really to make us to move forward in this important bill, to see that after so many years, we finally pass this petroleum industry bill.
Speaking about PIB second reading, Senator Bukola Saraki said:
“Today, we passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) for its second reading.
“First in line of four steps that we expect to provide comprehensive package of legislations which is meant to form the bases for the expected reform of the Petroleum Industry.
“This Bill will ensure we improve enabling environment for Petroleum Industry as a country and send a strong message to players In the industry and investors that we plan to pass PIB and strengthen the industry.
The bill was forwarded to Joint Committee on Gas, Downstream and Upstream for further legislation.
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