The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has given assurance that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be passed before the end of June 2021, as the joint committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives are almost concluding writing their reports.
Speaking at the opening of the 2021 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) on Monday in Abuja, he said conceiving the PIB through a cooperative approach had narrowed down differences and areas of potential conflicts, which, before now, had affected the PIB that has been 20 years in the making.
He noted that although the initial plan was to have the PIB passed by the end of May, more needed to be done to capture and ensure concerns of all stakeholders were adequately and fairly considered.
He said: “We want to be very fair in listening to everyone but one different approach that has been able to bring us where we are today in the PIB processing is that we decided right from the beginning that the solo effort in 2007/2008 by the then Executive Arm of government by bringing to the National Assembly the PIB, which at the of the day the National Assembly could not pass.
“In 2011, it was the same thing and the same result but in 2015, the National Assembly conceived the Bills but the PIB also failed to be enacted. “In our legislative agenda for 2019-2023 in the 9th Assembly we decided that we must have a better way.
Neither the solo effort of the Executive nor the solo effort of the legislature could deliver the PIB, we better have a cooperative approach where the National Assembly will work with the administration to conceive the Bill through very rigorous consultation and the end of the day we narrowed down our differences and areas of potential conflicts.
“I think we have been able to achieve that significantly. The speed and commitment the National Assembly has shown in working on the PIB and reaching where we are today shows that we have chosen the right path.
“As I speak, our joint committee of both Senate and the House on the PIB are about to conclude writing the report which will be submitted to both chambers of the National Assembly.
Our expectation is that we will pass the PIB within this month of June by the grace of God”. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who said the PIB was not intended to drive anyone out of business, said the National Assembly was rather working to promote operations in the sector.
“We are expected to encourage business whether foreign or local or community based. But as competing interests juggle and try to elbow each other out, it is the role of the National Assembly to look for balancing act, bearing in mind that the most important interest for us is that national interest and it is that our national interest that we have that we will look at while considering other competing interests to strike a very delicate balance in this industry.”