petroleum-industry-billBoth the Senate and House of Representatives have assured that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would not exceed 2015.

Indeed, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, affirmed Tuesday in Lagos at a forum with key players in the downstream oil sector, saying that the House has mapped out strategy to ensure that the bill is passed as soon as possible.

Besides, the Senate Committee has set a timeline to resolve all issues delaying the quick passage of the bill.

Tambuwal, in his address to the Oil Trading and Logistics Expo which opened in Lagos, declared readiness of the lower chamber to put stamp on the bill.

Tambuwal, who was represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Dakuku Peterside, said the House has been able to deal with all critical issues that have delayed its passage and is now poised to deliver on its promise to the people.

He said the House expedited action on it due to the importance of the law to the economy, as it will help to stabilise the industry, which remains largely the mainstay of the national economy.

The Speaker lamented that despite Nigeria’s huge hydrocarbon resources and potentials, it has continued to be a major importer of petroleum products.

“Singapore as a typical example, has no oil deposit but today, it is a major exporter of refined products and if that country can achieve that, what is responsible for our reliance on importation of products?” he asked.

The PIB, he observed, has the potential of creating the needed environment to attract investments and build indigenous capacity that will add value to the industry.

Tambuwal said members of the House haver demonstrated maturity in dealing with the issue, stating that during the first and second readings, there were no dissenting views and that a technical committee initiated by him is now considering some other key areas that may require further considerations.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, David Mark, also reassured Nigerians that all issues that had caused delay in the passage of the bill by the Senate would soon be taken care of.

The Senate President, who was represented by Senator Magnus Abe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), explained that the upper chamber would have concluded with the Bill but during the last public hearing, some stakeholders complained that their views were not captured.

“We slated to have another hearing but the date fell on the Muslim festival and we have to shift it. So now, we will pick a new date so that everyone will have opportunity to contribute”, Mark said.

He however, pointed out that people should not expect a quick turn around of things as passing the bill is one aspect of the expected reform, while implementation is another area of concern.

He explained that the bill had proposed transformation or emergence of some regulatory agencies and that will begin to happen with the passage.

Mark further informed that though 90 per cent of the population is not happy with the way the industry is run, “but it must be understood that PIB will not solve all the problems as the country has critical issues that relates with inefficiency in running the economy as well as productivity issues”.

He added that while the House was quick in resolving burning issues in the draft bill, the Senate will use wisdom to overcome some of the issues around it.

“They are younger ones and have the energy to deal with issues quickly but remember that what an old man sees while sitting down a young person will not see even when standing,” he said.


Information from The Guardian was used in this report.