A Bill for an Act to provide for legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigeria Petroleum Industry, development of host communities and for related matter has passed Second Reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill which is also known as Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) passed second reading after hours of debate during plenary on Tuesday in Abuja.
The Leader of the house, Rep. Ado Doguwa (APC-Kano) said that Nigeria had high gas deposit that was not being effectively utilised.
He said that if the PIB was passed into law, it would open up the sector, create jobs for the youths, women and men in the country.
Doguwa said that the bill, when passed, would also address the security challenges in the country as kidnapping, banditry and terrorism would become a thing of the past.
The Minority Leader of the house, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) said that the passage of the PIB was long overdue.
He said that the bill should be passed as soon as possible as the essence was to remove the uncertainty in the existing legal framework.
Elumelu said that some develop countries had set a time limit to transfer to green energy which would make crude oil almost useless.
The rep said that the bill would institutionalise and ensure ease of doing business in the sector and help Nigeria maximise the benefits therein.
Also, Rep. Mohammed Mungonu (APC-Borno) said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) as currently constituted had become a clog in the wheel of progress in the sector.
Monguno, who is the Chief Whip of the house, said that the bill sought to unbundle the NNPC into smaller components to drive the sector in line with International best practices.
Rep. Henry Archibong (PDP-Archibong) recalled that the last reform bill passed in the sector drove some International Oil Companies (IOCs) from the country.
According to him, crude oil can now be found in many counties in Africa who are allegedly luring IOC to come and invest.
The lawmaker said that it was important to seek and take seriously, the views of IOCs operating in the sector before the bill was passed into law.
Also, Rep. Henry Nwawuba (PDP-Imo) urged the house to meticulously consider the bill before it was passed into law so as not to take the country back.
He said that the PIB had spent 12 years in the National Assembly but had not been passed because of many interests.
The legislator however said that there was need to pass the bill as it would attract investments and would be of economic gains for Nigeria.
“Let us take advantage of oil and build programmers that would sustain us after oil is gone,” he said.
Nwauba said one of the reasons PIB was not passed in the 8th Assembly was because of late engagement with the Executive on the bill.
He urged that the Executive be carried along to prevent any issue of misunderstandings at the end of the process.
Rep. Nkem Abonta (PDP-Abia) urged the house to be careful of “legislative mines” that could stall the passage of the bill.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the house, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamilia referred the bill to the ad hoc committee on PIB for further legislative actions. (NAN)