Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, sign into law the petroleum industry governance bills (PIGB) passed by the lower legislative chamber when it is harmonised with the senate and transmitted to him.
The green chamber passed the legislation on Wednesday.
Dogara said the new legislation will be transmitted to the president as soon as it is harmonised.
He said the parliament had to move on and pass its own version of the bill following failure of the executive to present a draft bill to the national assembly.
Dogara expressed optimism that with the passage of the bill, the petroleum industry will witness improvement, “as it will attract investors and open up the sector as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) would be unbundled with the creation of other bodies”.
On May 27, 2017, the senate passed the bill and sent it to the lower legislative chamber for concurrence.
The upper legislative chamber broke the bill into four parts to allow easier passage.
The bill is built on recommendations of the Oil and Gas Implementation Committee (OGIC) constituted by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in 2000.
It was first introduced to the parliament by the late President Umaru Musa Yaradua in 2008.
The PIGB aims to establish the Nigerian petroleum regulatory commission as a one-stop regulator that will be responsible for licensing, monitoring, supervising petroleum operations, as well as enforcing industry laws, regulations and standards.
This means that the president will no longer have the executive power to allocate oil blocks.
It also seeks to establish a fiscal framework that encourages investment in the petroleum industry, and provides a framework that seeks to ensure that host communities are taken care of.
SARAKI SEES LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki says the passage of the PIGB will resolve the issues that led to petrol scarcity.
In a video address on his Facebook page on Thursday, Saraki said the passage of the bill is a historic milestone in Nigeria.
“Yesterday, after nearly two decades of back-and-forth, near-misses and near-passages, the 8th national assembly finally reached a milestone with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill — otherwise known as PIGB. This is historic,” he said.
“Many of you will recall that in May 2017, the senate took the first step in this direction, and yesterday, the house of representatives did the same by passing this bill that is aimed at modernizing the petroleum industry and overhauling the entire system – to create a conducive business environment for petroleum industry operations.
“The PIGB will also promote openness and transparency in the industry — by clarifying the rules, processes, and procedures that govern the oil and gas sector. This should eliminate, or at worse, reduce corruption significantly and make the sector more efficient and more productive.
“Most important, with the ongoing fuel scarcity in many parts of the country, Nigerians should know that the PIGB, once it becomes law, will help alleviate those issues that lead to scarcity, such as: the limited supply of premium motor spirit (PMS); the poor import planning schedule that leads to fuel importation constraints; the corruption, diversion and smuggling — that leads to artificial scarcity; and the absence of deregulation in the sector.
“Let me remind our people that this is another promise made and kept by the 8th Assembly.
“Many people people did not give us any chance when we promised to pass the PIB. Now, we have scaled this first major hurdle and we promise to pass the remaining related bills like the Petroleum Host Community Bill and Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill very soon to complete the circle.”