By Lizzy Chirkpi
OrderPaperToday – Lawmakers from Niger Delta region have commended their colleagues for unanimously supporting the passage into second reading of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in the House of Representatives.
The House on Thursday passed three bills all of which forms the cluster of the PIB which had failed to pass through the National Assembly in over a decade.
One of the bill passed for second reading seeks to establish a fiscal framework that encourages further investment in the petroleum industry.
Another seeks to provide for a framework relating to petroleum producing host community’s participation, cost and benefit sharing, as well as guidelines for the operations of the upstream and downstream sectors in the petroleum industry.
Reacting to this development, Mr. Julius Pondi representing Burutu federal constituency of Delta state under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said: “I must commend the people who conscripted it, I must commend my colleagues, it is the most critical of every bill”;
He continued: “What was witnessed on the floor of the house today is very very historic because I am from an oil producing community where oil is produced and it is devastating.”
Similarly, Mr. Emmanuel Ekon, the Chairman, House Committee on Local Content, representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika federal constituency of Akwa Ibom State under PDP, appreciated his colleagues for letting the PIB scale through second reading.
He said: “Today I was very grateful when my colleagues from the North, South, East and West came together and looked at the PIB as a national issue and passed it for second reading, look at the host communities, if u see what they are go through in the Niger Delta region where the exploration is done you will agree with me that the PIB will address all the issues.”
He also decried the bottle necks in doing business in the oil sector which makes it difficult for a good number of investors to participate.
“It is very expensive process even to be a contractor in the oil and gas industry. They ask you to register with Corporate Affairs Commission, after registration you go through Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), after DPR you go through all kinds of procedures and sometimes it takes longer than a year and for me these are the kind of things we need to streamline in the industry to see where we can fuse this together so that this complexity will be addressed”, Mr. Ekon stressed.