The speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, says the National Assembly will soon begin work on its own version of the Petroleum Industry Bill PIB, for government to urgently reform the country’s oil and gas sector.
The speaker, made this known at the National Assembly while receiving the international board of Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, EITI and the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI.
A statement from the speaker’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, stated that the decision of the National Assembly to draw up its own version of the bill was reached because of the urgent need to reform the oil and gas sector.
Mr. Dogara said that the bill, which has gone into its final stages, will be given expeditious consideration on the floor of the two chambers of the National Assembly to fully support the government to implement reforms in the oil, gas and mining sectors for its diversification to succeed,
“We have repeatedly, especially my humble self, have repeatedly called on the executive to present reform proposals in the petroleum sector. However, we may not continue to wait for an executive bill on this subject matter as we are prepared to introduce the National Assembly’s version; what we believe should be the legal framework for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.” the Speaker added.
Dogara also informed the delegation that in line with the resolve of the House of Representatives to fully work with President Muhammadu Buhari to implement reforms in the oil, gas and mining sectors, the House is giving them priority attention in legislative business.
He said “We cannot continue to take the blame for non passage of the petroleum reform legislation in Nigeria. As I speak with you, work on our own version has reached advanced stage and hopefully, we hope to introduce it in both chambers of the National Assembly. If it happens that the executive transmits its own version of its own vision of the oil sector, we have ample provision in the House Rules for us to merge the two together. We will not continue to wait.”
The Speaker said the legislature is determined to ensure that resource curse syndrome is reversed in the country as a situation where there is so much poverty in the midst of abundant resources is unacceptable.
The acting executive secretary of NEITI, Mr Orji Ogbannaya Orji, who accompanied the incoming chairman of EITI and former prime minister of Sweden, Mr Fedrick Reinfeldt, stressed the need to deregulate the extractive sector to generate more revenue.
In his remarks, Reinfeldt commended Nigeria for being one of the first African nations to key into EITI, while harping on the need for transparency and prudent use of natural resources.