OrderPaperToday – The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.
Recall that the PIGB (Petroleum Industry Governance Bill) was passed in the preceding assembly but was not signed into law by the President.
The passage of the PIB is a cardinal goal of the legislative agenda of the current 9th national assembly.
Leading debate on the ‘Bill for an Act to Provide for Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal framework for the Petroleum Industry, the Development of Host Communities,’ leader of the House, Alhassan Doguwa, canvassed support from his colleagues during plenary on Tuesday.
Doguwa explained that the bill when passed will provide legal framework for the petroleum sector whereby foreign investors can be wooed.
According to him, the PIB should come up with a new approach for its passage having lingered in the national assembly for years.
“We must take this as a duty to come up with a legal framework to enable us attract investors into the oil sector,” the house leader said.
Members who spoke in favour of the bill said it will enhance growth of the nation’s economy especially as crude oil is now being discovered in different parts of the country.
The House minority leader, Mr. Ndudi Elumelu, said the bill is long overdue for passage.
Mr. Elumelu who disclosed that the country has about 37billion crude oil reserves and stressed that the bill has to be passed as soon as possible.
“The earlier we pass this PIB the better we will be able to have access to our reserves,” Mr. Elumelu said, adding: “If you understand what is going on globally you will understand that we have to pass this bill in order to benefit from the crude oil before it becomes irrelevant in the world.”
Also speaking in support of the bill, Mr. Rotimi Agunsoye (APC, Lagos) said it is important that a legal backing be provided for investors.
While lamenting the neglect in passage of the bill by past assemblies, members especially those in the Niger Delta region narrated the plight of some host oil communities.
Mr. Uche Nnamobi (PDP, Rivers) decried the neglect of the host oil Communities like Oloibiri where oil was first discovered in 1956.
According to Mr. Victor Nwokolo (PDP, Delta), who also threw his support for the bill, the PIB addresses the issue of multiple taxation in the sector.
“With the passage of this PIB, we’ll be able to be compete internationally with other oil producing nations,” Mr. Nwokolo said.
To this end, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila passed and referred the bill to the House committee on PIB for further legislative input.
The bill scaled second reading in senate last month.