Stories from John Meze, Lagos:
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura, has said that the passage of the long awaited Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) into law this year might not be feasible.
This will bring to about 17 years the drafting, amend-ments and the postponing of the passage of the bill which was conceived under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
Alasoadura attributed the likelihood of non-passing the bill by the National Assembly this year to the exigency of the passage of the 2018 budget brought by Presi-dent Muhammadu Buhari on November 7.
He disclosed this in a panel session at the ongoing 7th practical Nigerian Content in Uyo Akwa Ibom State, or-ganised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB). He said the bill will be passed into law in the first quarter of 2018.
The Senator informed that the Senate President, Buko-la Saraki, understands the importance of the bill, there-fore making it to always be at the forefront of the his agenda.
He said, “It is aspiration of the senate president that the bill be passed on time, but practically with the exi-gencies of passage of the budget and other bills it might not be so.’
“We were on the fast lane when we passed the gov-ernance aspect of the bill with the intention to pass other bills, however, not involving the House of Repre-sentatives, slowed down the pace of the passage.”
“We have constituted joint committees with the House of Representatives for speedy passage of the four bills pending before the national assembly. Moreso, we will ensure that we are timely on passage of the bills.”
He stressed that the PIB has been splited into four parts – Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill to fast-track its passage into law.
He added that the PIB established clear rules, regula-tions, procedures and institutions for the efficient ad-ministration of the petroleum industry.
“This bill establishes the legal and regulatory frame-work, institutions and regulatory authorities for the Ni-gerian petroleum industry. It also stipulates deadline for operations in the upstream, midstream and down-stream sectors.”
“Given the high expectations for the PIB and the long controversy that had surrounded the passage of the bill for over a decade, we needed to break it into four parts to enable its passage into law within the short time frame we have,” he added.
Alasoadura , who observed that the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill had all gone through second reading, said, “We expect the report from the committees in no distant time and hope to pass the bills into law before the end of first quarter in 2018.”