Reps pass Petroleum Industry Bill through second reading

Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday expressed overwhelming support for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), a bill which seeks to provide for legal, governance, a regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigeria petroleum industry, development of host communities and for a related matter, which scaled through Second Reading on Tuesday.
Some of the lawmakers who spoke in support of the bill, are Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu; Majority Whip, Hon. Mohammed Monguno; Deputy Majority Whip, Hon. Nkiruika Onyejeocha; Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, Hon. Jide Jimoh, Hon. Abubakar Fulata, Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye, Hon. Babajimi Benson and Hon. Victor Nwokolo.
In his lead debate, Majority Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa who explained that Nigeria has a high gas deposit that was not being effectively utilized, expressed hope that the passage of the proposed PIB would open up the sector, create jobs for teeming Nigerian youths, women and men across the country.
Hon. Ado-Doguwa added that the bill, when passed, would also address the security challenges in the country as kidnapping, banditry and terrorism would become a thing of the past.
In his remarks, Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu who observed that the PIB was long overdue, canvassed for the timely passage of the legislation in order to unlock the huge economic potentials in the oil and gas industry.
While noting that Nigeria had about 37 billion crude oil reserves, Hon. Elumelu underscored the need to fast-track the passage of the PIB without further delay.
He observed that the earlier “we pass this PIB, the better we will be able to have access to our reserves. If you understand what is going on globally, you will understand that we have to pass this bill in order to benefit from the crude oil before it becomes irrelevant.”
In his contribution, Hon. Mohammed Monguno underscored the need for the unbundling of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in order to improve on the service delivery and accountability.
While making his input, Hon. Abubakar Fulata who argued that crude oil will become useless and unprofitable in the next 40 years, posited that the proposed PIB, when passed into law, will provide room for transparency, accountability, responsibility, adding that “this is the time utilize it.”
Also speaking, Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye stressed the need to put in place a legislative framework that will encourage those willing to do business with Nigeria, just as he called for the restructuring of PIB.
In his view, Hon. Henry Archibong who recalled that the last reform bill passed in the sector drove some International Oil Companies (IOCs) from the country, called for caution with the discovery of crude oil in many African counties who are luring IOCs to come and invest.
Also speaking, Hon. Henry Nwawuba who observed that the PIB had spent 12 years in the National Assembly, stressed the need for them to put the national interest at the front burner during the consideration of the bill.
While noting that there is an urgent need to pass the bill to enable Nigeria to attract investments and other economic gains, Hon. Nwawuba urged his colleagues to “take advantage of oil and build programmes that would sustain us after the oil is gone.”
While expressing concern over the lackadaisical attitude of the executive in engaging the 8th Assembly during the consideration of the bill, he urged that the executive be carried along to prevent any issue of misunderstanding at the end of the process.
On his part, Hon. Victor Nwokolo expressed optimism that the passage of the bill will enable Nigeria to compete favourably with other oil-producing nations.
He, therefore, urged all the members to support the initiative for the overall benefits of Nigerians.
Following the overwhelming support enjoyed by the bill, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who presided over the session referred it to the Ad-hoc Committee on PIB for further legislative action.

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