BY OKEY NDIRIBE & EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
ABUJA — Debate on the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) began, yesterday, in the House of Representatives, with the emerging pattern in the contributions of members indicating regional divide.
The Bill, entitled “A Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of a legal, fiscal and regulatory framework for the petroleum industry in Nigeria and for other related matters and a Bill for an Act to establish the National New Frontier Agency for the purpose of exploration and production of oil and gas in the Frontier of Chad Basin, Dahomey Basin, Imo Basin, Benue Trough, Bauchi Basin and Sokoto Basin and for other matters connected therewith,” was presented for a second reading by the Leader of the House, Mulikat Adeola-Akande.
In her contribution, she stated that PIB sought to harmonise all past petroleum industry laws, adding that the bill was first introduced to the 6th National Assembly in 2010.
According to her, a number of factors prevented it from being passed into law.
She said: “From 1959 to date there have been about 16 laws in our statutes regulating the petroleum industry. Some of these are the Petroleum Profits Tax Act, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Act and the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Act.
”The Petroleum Industry Bill 2012 is seeking to harmonize and consolidate all these laws in order to better regulate, coordinate and manage the operations of the industry.”
She outlined the objectives of the bill as creation of a conducive business environment for petroleum operations; enhancing exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources in Nigeria for the benefit of Nigerian people; optimization of domestic gas supplies, particularly for power generation and industrial development; establishment of a progressive fiscal framework that encourages further investments in the petroleum industry while optimizing the revenues accruing to the government.