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Lawan gave this information on Monday at the ongoing Nigerian International Petroleum Summit -a four day event organised by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
The Senate President did not give any particular date for the passage of the all-important bill that provides the framework for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria, but he revealed that the bill, when passed into law, would represent the ‘Nigerian interest’ and ensure that the oil and gas sector worked for the benefits of Nigerians.
“The legislature and the executive have been working harmoniously towards the passage of the bill and the PIB would have been passed by May. We need speed and accuracy, and want to be fair in listening to everyone in getting the bill passed,” he said.
He stressed that one factor that had quickened the passage of the bill process was largely the harmonious collaboration between the executive and the legislature.
“The previous solo efforts by the executive arm of government since 2008 dragged down the effort to get the best of this all-important bill and its quick passage,” Lawan said.
He remarked that the National Assembly could not pass the bill again in 2011 because of the solo efforts by the executive arm of government while working on the bill. He also pointed out that in 2015, there was a reversal when the National Assembly conceived the bill, yet the PIB could not materialise.
“In our legislative agenda for 2019-2023, in the 9th National Assembly, we decided that we have to work together both the executive and the legislature, and not the solo efforts of any of the arms in delivering the PIB. This will enable us to have a bill that narrows down our differences through the robust engagement of all stakeholders.
“We’ve been able to achieve that significantly, and the speed the National Assembly has shown in working on the PIB and reaching where we are today shows that we’ve chosen the right path.
“As I speak, the joint committee of both the Senate and federal House of representatives on the PIB has finished work, and are finalising their reports on what we submitted at both chambers. Our expectations are that we would pass the PIB, within this month of June by the grace of God,” he explained.
Why PIB matters:
Despite operating in the oil and gas sector for more than 50 years, there is no proper fiscal framework that guides the operations of the sector to sustain investor confidence, amid concerns of a global shift away from the oil to clean energy.
Analysts believe that the PIB needs to be passed despite its imperfections, stressing that it is important to put a stop to an overwhelming subsidy regime in the country.
“Pass the PIB to grow investor confidence, which would enable commercialisation of the sector for investments and put a stop to these overwhelming subsidy,” oil sector governance expert Henry Ademola Adigun told The ICIR.
President of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria Adetunji Oyebanji also told The ICIR that the government would save up funds for its infrastructural development if it stopped subsidy payment and passed the PIB.
Some of the key objectives of the PIB include: safeguarding the long-term macroeconomic stability of the country, reformation of the extractive industry institutional framework, provision of better clarity for Nigeria and its partners (particularly IOCs), entrenching a domestic gas-to-power market, increasing oil and gas production, protecting the environment while supporting the economic diversification agenda of the country.