The Senate, Thursday, received the age-long report on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIb) from its joint petroleum committee on petroleum (downstream and upstream) and gas.
The bill has been in the works for over a decade and been redrafted several times but was never passed by the previous assemblies.
Speaking on the report, Senate President, Bukola Saraki said: “What a historic day!” “We are getting there.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May 2015, made passing the legislation a priority as part of an attempt to crackdown on the mismanagement and corruption that has held back the country’s energy sector. Oil sales account for two-thirds of government revenue in the OPEC member state.
When the bill was passed for second reading before moving to the committee stage, the Senate said the proposed legislation “establishes a framework for the creation of commercially oriented and profit driven entities that ensure value addition and internationalization of the country’s petroleum industry.”
“The bill seeks to provide transparency and accountability in the management of Nigeria’s petroleum resources.”
Once the Senate has approved the bill, it will be sent to the lower chamber of parliament. With the approval of both, the final version will be sent to the president to be signed into law.
Its backers say Nigeria’s oil sector is in dire need of change, with power currently concentrated in the state oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the petroleum ministry.
Moreover, the bill also seeks to split the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation into two: national oil company, NOC, and national petroleum assets management commission.
The NOC, as proposed in the bill, will be an “integrated oil and gas company operating as a fully commercial entity and will run like a private company”, while the NPAMC will be a “single petroleum regulatory commission which will focus mainly on regulating the industry.”
The Senate President had last week promised that the report on the bill would be laid today and that it would be presented for third reading on April 25.