The House of Representatives has passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The House Committee of the Whole, on Thursday, considered the report of the Ad hoc Committee on PIB and passed the bill.
The report was laid on Wednesday by the Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno).
The 318 clauses in the bill were passed in less than 20 minutes.
The passage was not without drama, as the deputy speaker, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), did not recognise members trying to raise points of order.
At a point, the deputy speaker jumped from clause 189 to 200.
Host community trust fund
The lawmakers amended Section 240 of the bill to increase the mandatory host communities funding by oil companies.
The original bill proposed 2.5 per cent operating expenditure to fund the host communities trust fund.
Following the amendment moved by Mr Monguno, the fund was increased to five per cent.
Section 240(2) now reads, “Each settlor, where applicable through the operator, shall make an annual contribution to the applicable host community development trust fund of an amount equal to 5% of its actual annual operating expenditure of the preceding financial year in the upstream, the midstream and downstream in respect of all petroleum operations affecting the host communities for which the applicable host community development trust fund was established.”
With this amendment, the bill will need to go through harmonisation with the Senate version. The upper chamber adopted three per cent of operating expenditures.
Speaking on the synopsis of the report on the bill, Mr Monguno said “this is a bill that goes to the root of our economy. It behoves on us to pass this bill so that our names will be written in gold.”
He added that the bill created the host community trust fund and the frontier exploration fund.
Speaking after the consideration, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, commended his colleagues for the passage, adding that the Electoral Act will be passed as soon as possible.
“Let me use this opportunity to underscore the points made by Hon Monguno on what this House has just done. Mr chairman and honourable colleagues, if I can score how big what we have just done today….. It has been 20 years in the making. This is a product of 360 wise men. I want to commend them for their commitment, their industry and their scholars in producing these 318 sections,” he said.
Committee speaks on decision
While briefing journalists, Mr Monguno said the committee had received the mandate of the House to maintain the 5% host community clause.
“The House has a mandate, the committee must jealously guard this mandate. Although there would be give and take, the House will guard jealously.”
“30% of profit on oil will be used for frontier explorations. The money will be in an escrow account. If not used, it will be returned to the treasury. We only have a 20 years window to maximise oil,” he said.
Unlike in the senate, which passed the PIB the same day, the bill was not debated in the House.
The PIB was first introduced into the National Assembly in 2008 as an executive bill by then president, Umar Yar’Adua.
The Sixth National Assembly (2007 – 2011) failed to pass the bill.
The bill was reintroduced into the National Assembly in 2012 by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Last June, 47 out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives in the Seventh Assembly (2011 – 2015) were present when the bill was passed a few hours to the end of their tenure. But the bill failed to get a concurrent passage from the Senate.
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