PIB: Reps Request Memoranda from Nigerians, Schedule Passage for March 2021
The House of Representatives on Wednesday expressed the commitment of the National Assembly to overhaul the nation’s oil and gas sector, as it called on Nigerians to make inputs to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by submitting memoranda.
The legislation entitled: ‘A Bill for an Act to Provide for Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal Framework for the Nigeria Petroleum Industry, Development of Host Communities and for Related Matters’ scaled second reading on Tuesday after which Speaker Femi Gbajabiamilia referred it to the Ad hoc Committee on PIB for further legislative actions.
Chief Whip of the House and Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Mohammed Monguno, in his opening speech at the inaugural meeting of the panel on Wednesday, said the Nigerian economy will be given a boost through the passage of the age-long PIB.
The Petroleum Industry Bill was first introduced on the floor of the House in 2007 but the passage of the bill has evaded three successive Assemblies namely the 6th, 7th, and 8th Assemblies, and is still being considered by the current 9th Assembly.
The original bill has now been unbundled into five chapters which include: Governance and Institutions, Administration, Host Communities Development, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Framework, and Miscellaneous Provisions.
It also included 7 Schedules: Right of Pre-Emption; Principles of Negotiating Incorporated Joint Ventures; Domestic Base Price and Pricing Framework; Pricing Formula for Gas Price for the Gas Based; Industries; Capital Allowances; Production Allowances and Cost Price Ratio Limit; and Petroleum Fees, Rents and Royalty.
The Bill seeks to provide for Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, the Development of Host Communities, and for related matters.
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When passed, the Bill will improve the clarity of structures, roles, accountability, transparency, and overall efficiency and effectiveness of the institutions in the Oil Industry.
Monguno has now urged Nigerians to make inputs to the bill by submitting their memoranda, assuring that the Green Chamber would pass the bill by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
He said: “Under our watch as a Committee, which I am privileged to Chair, it is a general consensus that the passage of this Bill is long overdue. We are taking the time to review what has been done by the previous Assemblies and what we need to do differently.
“Prior to the referrer of the Bill, the Leadership of the House, the Senate, and the relevant committees of the National Assembly, has been briefed by the Hon. Minister of Petroleum with his team, wherein most of the concerns and controversies contained in the previous drafts have been signiﬁcantly addressed with this present draft.
“Going forward, the Committee will do its best by engaging various Stakeholders, civil societies, and the general public by subjecting the Bill to detailed and public scrutiny to ensure that Nigerians are carried along. We are confident that this piece of legislation will stand the test of time.
“In as much as we are eager to pass the bill, we will not circumvent the legislative process, it is our hope and believes that the Bill will be passed by the end of the first quarter of the year 2021.
“The Committee has taken the liberty to create a Website which will serve as one of the platforms where stakeholders and interested members of the general public can download the text of the Bill and also upload comments/inputs/memoranda to same.
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“The Website is particularly important because, it enables all Nigerians so long as you have internet access, irrespective of where they might be or leave, to participate in the legislative process. The Address of the Website is www.hrpib.org. ng.
“We are by this notice calling on the Stakeholders and interested members of the general public to visit our Website, for updates on the Committee‘s activities, to download the text of the Bill and also upload memoranda to same.”
The Chief Whip maintained that he was “particularly alarmed that though the exploration of fossil fuel in Nigeria dates back to the 60s, commercial exploration may only last for another 25 years. It is not to say that we might exhaust the deposit, but that the entire world is focusing on research to develop, renewable energy that could turn out to be cheaper and environmentally friendlier.
“That is why it has become expedient, more than ever to leverage on this window of opportunity that the oil exploration present to us as Nigerians, by ensuring that the Petroleum Industry Bill is passed without further delay.”
Monguno regretted that the oil industry is still Nigeria’s mainstay despite all the efforts of preceding administrations to diversify the monolithic economy of the country. “Every time there is signiﬁcant fluctuations in the price of crude oil, all other sectors of our national lives suffer,” he said.