The Senate and the House of Representatives have received and adopted the conference committee report on the Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB), bringing to near closure the over 16-year journey of the legislation.
The consideration followed the presentation of the reports by the chairman, Senate committee on Petroleum Resources (upstream), Omotayo Alasoadura (APC, Ondo Central).
The Senate had, after a clause-by-clause consideration in May 2017, passed the PIGB, moving a step closer to making its ambitious contents law.
The House of Representatives passed the Bill in January 2018.
The PIGB is one of the four segments of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The three other segments of the main PIB are the Fiscal Regime Bill, the Upstream and Midstream Administration Bill and the Petroleum Revenue Bill.
Amongst other objectives, the petroleum bill seeks to introduce reforms that would engender transparency, while at the same time making the oil and gas sector more business-oriented and profit-driven.
If eventually signed by the president, the bill will unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and provide for the establishment of Federal Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated, Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Nigerian Petroleum Assets Management Company and National Petroleum Company and Petroleum Equalisation Fund.
The bill further provides that upon the recommendations of the new commission, the Minister of Petroleum Resources can ”grant, amend, renew, extend or revoke any licence or lease required for petroleum or production”, pursuant to the provisions of the Act or any other enactment.
The power for issuing and revoking licenses was also domiciled in the commission, as well as the allocating of petroleum production quotas in a non-discriminatory manner.
Following the passage of the Bill, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, named the conference committee that would harmonise the different versions together with the House of Representatives.
Speaking after its passage, Mr Saraki said, “the challenge will and has always been on the need to get consensus on an issue as important as this one. However, today’s passage of this Conference Committee Report on the PIGB will also lay the foundation for the other Bills that are coming.
“We have once again shown investors both within and outside the country that this National Assembly is very responsible in the areas that have to do with the laws that govern our petroleum sector. I am sure that we will hopefully get the assent of Mr President and open a new page in Nigeria’s petroleum industry.”
Early this month, the Chairman of the committee said the PIGB will be transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent on or before March 30.