A segment of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has passed second reading on the floor of the Nigerian Senate.
It is titled: a Bill for an Act to provide for the Governance and Institutional Framework for the Petroleum Industry 2016.
The core objective of the bill is to take the commercial aspect of the oil industry away from the government so as to promote efficiency and transparency. It also seeks to facilitate the attraction of investment in the sector.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura told Voice of Nigeria that one of the reasons for splitting the PIB into segments was to ensure easy passage and avoid unnecessary controversies that led to the stalling of the former PIB in the 7th Senate.
“So, one of the things this bill is trying to do is to take the commercial aspect of the oil industry completely away from the government; let it stand on its own; let it be a limited liability company; let it be able to go to anywhere and borrow money to run its business like the IOCs are doing.
IOCs are not being funded by government, so, why can’t we get our own entity that will be like the IOCs. And let’s face it, it is because government had been running this industry that the cost of production of a barrel of crude oil in Nigeria is about the highest in the world.”
Meanwhile, the Senate on Wednesday resolved to suspend its plenary session if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to conduct all outstanding elections in Rivers state on the tenth of December 2016.
The resolution followed the consideration of a matter of urgent national importance moved by the Deputy Senate President, lke Ekweremadu and the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, on the inconclusive elections in the oil rich State.
Coming under order 43 of the Senate standing rules, Senator Ekweremadu maintained that INEC’s failure to conduct elections into the Rivers State Senatorial, House of Representatives and State Assembly seats breached the 1999 constitution.
He further said that the development had denied the people of Rivers state their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
In a contribution to the debate, Senator Dino Melaye, through an additional prayer called for the inclusion of Kogi state in the Federal Executive Council by appointing a minister to replace the late Mr. James Ocholi.
The former Minister of State for Labour, James Ocholi who represented Kogi State on the federal executive council, died in a road accident eight months ago.
In remarks at the end of the debate, the Senate President Bukola Saraki urged the federal government to immediately appoint a minister from Kogi state.