The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) has new hurdles to scale before it can be passed into law.
The harmonised version of the bill was passed by the national asssemby in March 2018 but it is yet to be sent to President Muhammadu Buhari sent for assent.
During senate plenary on Thursday, the bill was referred to the conference committee on the petroleum industry and governance for further legislative action.
The referral followed a motion moved by Ahmad Lawan, senate majority leader, who said there are “fundamental issues” in the bill — as well as the Climate Change bill — raised by the legal department of the national assembly which needs to be considered.
“The senate recalls that the Climate Change Bill, 2018 and Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill, 2018 were passed by the senate and the house of representatives, and transmitted to the clerk to the national assembly for onward transmission to the president for assent on the 5th and 10th of April, 2018, respectively,” he said.
“The senate notes that after critical examination of the bills, the directorate of legal services of the national assembly observed some fundamental issues, which require fresh legislative action.
“Relying on order 1(b) of the senate standing rule, the senate accordingly resolves that the bills be referred to the respective conference committees (on the bills) that had earlier worked on them to consider the observations raised by the directorate of legal services and report back to the senate within one week.”
The prayer was subsequently adopted by the lawmakers after it was put to vote by Senate President Bukola Saraki.
“The chairmen of the two committees, Senators Tayo Alasoadura and Buka Ibrahim, will have a deadline of one week for this report to come out before we go on break. We must consider the conference report and pass it,” Saraki said.
If the bill signed into law, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will be unbundled and will start running like proper business units.