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UPDATED: PIB passes 2nd reading in the House of Reps

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PIB passes 2nd reading in the House of Reps

As ad-hoc C’mte holds inaugural meeting Wednesday

By Levinus Nwabughiogu – Abuja

Finally, the age-long Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB has passed second reading at the House of Representatives.

The PIB in many quarters appears to be the most politicized piece of legislation in Nigeria’s legislative history.

It was conceived by the Executive Arm of government some 18 years ago to principally inject transparency and stimulate growth in the country’s oil industry.

But controversies arising from vested interests have continued to bog it down, making it one of the longest bills in the National Assembly that had been subjected to legislative fireworks.

READ ALSO: Oil producing communities will benefit more from PIB, deregulation — Omo-Agege

To get it passed in the first attempt, the document was balkanised by the two chambers of the Nigerian National Assembly, the Senate, and the House of Representatives which called it “Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB”.

With the new name, the Bill was passed simultaneously in both chambers in January 2018.

It was later forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for presidential assent.

But the President expressly declined his assent, citing anomalies, particularly the reduction of Powers of the Minister of Petroleum over Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

The refusal then necessitated the return of the Bill to the National Parliament.

Reappearing in the House with the long title “A Bill for an Act to Provide Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal Framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry and Development of Host Communities and for Related Matters HB 1061”, the House yesterday debated its general principle and unanimously passed it.

Members of the House took turns to bare their minds on the bill, unanimously supporting its passage.

Introducing the bill, the House Leader, Hon. Alhasan Ado Doguwa said that the bill debuted in the 6th assembly.

“Permit me to take the house down memory lane. This was a bill that began in the 6th assembly. Unfortunately, this bill has not been able to see the light of day. Whatever controversies surrounding the bill, the bill is now before us. It is my hope that members will look at this bill”, he said.

Also Speaking, the minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu said that if the PIB is passed, it will stop Nigeria from importing fuel from the Niger republic.

READ ALSO: Yakubu’s confirmation, 2021 budget, PIB, others top agenda as Senate resumes Nov 24

“I rise to support that this PIB. The bill is long overdue. The essence is to remove some uncertainties. The essence is to institutionalize the ease of doing business. If passed, the bill will institutionalize good governance and ease of doing business. It will attract investors if passed fast. Our 4 refineries are bad. That’s why we import from Niger when we are supposed to be giving to Niger. We should be giving Niger and not us importing from Niger. We need to pass this PIB as soon s possible”, he said.

Similarly, the deputy minority leader, Hon Toby Okechukwu said the bill will help rebound the economy.

“If PIB will cure the fact that Nigeria imports petroleum products from Niger republic, I am for it. If Nigeria has four refineries that are not functioning, if the PIB will cure it, I am for it. If the opportunity we had in the 70s, 80s will come back, I am for it.

“If we pass the Electoral bill and also PIB, I will say that we have done a wonderful job. We should pay attention to this bill. We should make sure that all the landmines that will come along the way should be jettisoned”, he said.

Similarly, Hon. Nkem Abonta from Abia State said “PIB is one of the oldest bills I met in the national assembly. We are aware that this bill is having the survival of Nigeria. This bill will enhance further law.”

Others who spoke in favour of the bill included Hons. Hon. Sarkin-Ada, chairman, Committee on upstream, Hon. Jide Jimoh from Lagos, the Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Mohammed Monguno, deputy chief whip, Hon Nkiruka Onyejiocha, Hon. Victor Nwokolo, the spokesman of the House, Hon Benjamin Kalu, and Henry Nwawuba from Imo State.

Ruling on the passage of the bill, the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila committed it to the Ad-hoc Committee on PIB.

Meanwhile, the Ad-hoc Committee had slated today (Wednesday) to hold its inaugural meeting.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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