OrderPaperToday – The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has shifted the goal post for the passage of PIB – Petroleum Industry Bill – to the second quarter of 2021.

Before this recent declaration, Lawan had repeatedly said in 2019 and early 2020 that the PIB will be passed before the end of year.

Recall that the legislative draft passed second reading in October with major concerns on the welfare of host communities.

However, the passage of PIB has now been postponed to next year, he said at a retreat for top management staff of the National Assembly and National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) on Friday.

He said: “The PIB which is one of the most essential legislations that we have to have in this country, we intend to pass it by the Grace of God before the end of the second quarter of next year.

“We will take our time because this is a very delicate and sensitive piece of legislation. We will take our time to ensure that what comes out of the National Assembly in the PIB is a product of legislation that will ensure that Nigeria earns it’s revenues from this industry as it should and of course also support our business people, the oil companies that are investing and in fact, retain and encourage new ones to come to Nigeria to invest.

“So it has to be a win-win for all of us. We will not be selfish as a country, trying to take everything. No.

“Oil is like water now. Almost every country now has oil. So if you don’t provide a competitive environment in Nigeria, oil companies will have no difficulty relocating to other countries. So we will ensure that we have a competitive environment for business and for investment,” Lawan said.

Aside passage of PIB, the President of the red chamber maintained that the National Assembly will pass the 2021 Appropriation Bill by the second week of December, 2020.

Standing committees of both chambers have wrapped up their respective budget defence as the Senate committee on Appropriation prepare to present the report.

He said: “We are working to pass the 2021 budget by the second week of December by the Grace of God,” .

“We are working very assiduously, we will ensure that there is every possible scrutiny of the budget estimates presented to us by the Executive arm of government.

“So far, we achieved that in 2020 budget. We believe we did the right thing. We promised Nigerians that we will do that and it is going to be part of our legacy in the Ninth National Assembly.”

He also explained why activities regarding amendment to the 1999 Constitution was yet to commence.

He assured that it be Constitution review and the Electoral Act (Amendment Bill) will be priorities for the federal parliament in 2021.

“The constitutional amendment, of course at the moment, is not very warm because of the activities of members of the National Assembly on the 2021 budget but the two committees in the Senate and the House are already working behind the scene to ensure that as soon as we pass the budget, the constitutional amendment activities will start in earnest.

“We believe that we should pass our amendments within 2021. Similarly the amendment to the Electoral Act is going to be within that year 2021 to ensure that we don’t encounter unnecessary distractions,” Lawan said.

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