Senate begins work on new PIB

Senate begins work on new PIB

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The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly (NASS)the Senate has commenced work on the controversial updated version of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and passed its first reading on the floor on Wednesday.

The PIB which could not be passed by the 7th National Assembly has now been re-named Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB).
‎The PIGB as introduced in the Senate yesterday by Senator Donald Alasoadura (APC, Ondo Central) was the product of harmonised work by both chambers of the National Assembly.

Also, the Senate asked its Joint Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream), Finance and Appropriation to immediately conduct comprehensive investigation of the joint venture cash calls by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The Senate hinged its action on what it called ‘a prolonged silence’ by the Presidency on the bill as well as the continued agitation for its passage by the citizenry.

The National Assembly has come under criticism for failing to pass PIB in two consecutive assemblies which compelled both Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to repeatedly urge President Muhammadu Buhari to present a new PIB to the National Assembly.

The petroleum industry framework was first conceived by the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and sent to the Sixth Assembly whose failure to pass the bill compelled the immediate past government of President Goodluck Jonathan to re-present the bill to the Seventh Assembly which again failed to pass the bill as a result of stiff opposition from Northern lawmakers especially over the allocation of 10 per cent royalty to oil producing communities in the bill.

The northern lawmakers had opposed the provision of host community fund in bill on the ground that Niger Delta region where oil is domiciled had received more than enough benefits with little or nothing to show for it.

Since the present National Assembly began moves to re-introduce the ‎PIB, there have been series of protests over reported plan to remove the 10% allocated to host communities in the former bill.‎

The Senate equally expressed concern over an allegation that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) had been violating rules governing its Joint Venture Cash Call responsibility and consequently asked its committee to investigate the allegation.

It simultaneously asked the committee to come up with sanctions for any known violation of appropriation acts in the oil and gas sector.

The move followed the adoption of a motion by Senator Bassey Akpan (Akwa Ibom North east) who had alleged persistent constraints by NNPC to meet its cash call obligations, a situation he said had worsened the country’s crude oil production output and other activities in the oil and gas sector.

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