Senate passes Petroleum Industry Bill

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Nigerian Senate has passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), thus breaking a 17 year old jinx that has followed the bill since the early years of Nigeria’s return to the 4th Democratic journey in 2000.

Passage of the Bill followed Senate’s consideration of the report of its joint committee on petroleum upstream, downstream and gas at Thursday’s plenary.

Total reformation
Chairman of the joint Committee Petroleum Upstream, Petroleum Downstream and Gas which is working on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, 2017, Senator Tayo Alasoadura confirmed that the PIB seeks for a total reformation of the petroleum industry sector.

The Bill will also establish a framework that will promote transparency and accountability, as well as to foster better business environment in the industry.

Senator Alasoadura stressed the need to reform the laws governing the industry which have become obsolete.

According to him, overhauling the laws will attract over $60 billion investment into the county.

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki while commenting on the bill said “this is a Bill that has been here for many years, we made a commitment and it’s being fulfilled. This Bill is not only for Nigerians but for our investors. We are proud of what has been done”.

Inclusive development
The PIB has always been identified as a comprehensive instrument for the oil sector development and diversification.

The content, in summary, pushes for a more inclusive development away from crude oil to other product lines and by-products and robust engagement between international oil companies and the government in the area of investment and modifications in the Joint Venture Partnerships/cash call obligations.

It also advocates the activation and extension of indigenous participation and local content development, just and fair engagement of the oil producing communities and transparency/accountability in the industry.

Obstacles
It will be recalled ​that the Petroleum Industry Bill has passed through the respective assemblies but met obstacles due to technicalities attached to it.

This includes many issues which needed to be streamlined, such as concerns of the host communities and role of the different companies and stakeholders in the industry among others.

However, all the issues have been separated into different Bills to address different concerns in the industry such as the host communities, administration and governance, among others.

Sammie Idika