The House of Representatives has vowed to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the end of the first quarter of 2021.
The Chief Whip of the House and chairperson of the ad-hoc committee on PIB, Tahir Monguno, stated this on Wednesday at the inaugural sitting of the committee.
The House had on Tuesday passed the bill for second reading and referred it to the committee for a public hearing.
The revised legislation, which is an executive bill, amongst other things, seeks to scrap the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
The bill also seeks the creation of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited – after all the assets and liabilities of the NNPC must have been identified by the ministers of petroleum resources and finance.
The legislation also seeks to establish the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
Q1 of 2021 timeline
In his opening remark, Mr Monguno stated that oil exploration may stop in another 25 years due to the advent of renewable energy.
He said for that reason, the house will ensure that the bill is passed this time despite previous failures.
“I am particularly alarmed that, though the exploration of fossil fuel in Nigeria dates back to the 60’s, but commercial exploration may only last
for another 25 years, it is not to say that we might exhaust the deposit, but that the entire world is focusing on research to develop renewable energy
that could turn out to be cheaper and environmentally friendlier.”
“That is why it has become expedient, more than ever to leverage on this window of opportunity that the oil exploration present to us as Nigerians, by ensuring that the Petroleum Industry Bill is passed without further delay.”
He said in spite of all the effort of the preceding administrations to diversify Nigeria’s mono-economy, the oil industry still remains the mainstay of the country’s economy.
“Every time there’s signiﬁcant fluctuations in the price of crude oil all other sectors of our national lives suffers,” he said
“The Bill when passed will improve clarity of structures, roles accountability, transparency and overall efficiency and effectiveness of the Institutions in the Oil Industry.”
“In as much as we are eager to pass the bill, we will not circumvent legislative process, it is our hope and belief that the Bill will be passed by the end of the first quarter of year 2021,” he said.
He also stated that the Committee has taken the liberty to create a website: www.hrpib.org.ng as one of the platforms where stakeholders and interested members of the general public can download the text of the Bill and also upload comments, inputs and memoranda to same.
“The website is particularly important because, it enables all Nigerians so long as you have internet access, irrespective of where they might be or leave, to participate in the legislative process.”
Since 2008, the National Assembly has been working to improve transparency and accountability in the oil sector by passing the PIB.
The bill has been sent back and forth from the National Assembly to the executive since the 5th Assembly.
I’m 2012, the then administration of President Goodluck Jonathan sent a new version of the bill to the legislature.
It was successfully passed by the House of Representatives in 2015 but was stalled because it did not get the concurrence of the senate then.
The change of government in 2015 further hindered the bill which was eventually brought back by the Buhari administration to the 8th Assembly. However, it was unbundled into four separate bills.
The 9th National Assembly has vowed to break the jinx by passing the bill.
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