The Nigerian senate has passed the long awaited petroleum industry bill.
After a clause to clause review of the bill and despite serious protest by lawmakers from the oil producing Niger Delta zone, 3% was approved for host communities as equity share holding, to be deposited in the host community trust fund. Although host communities in the zone had earlier demanded 10%, the senate committee on Petroleum (upstream, downstream and Gas).
The approval was made despite the initial 5% recommended by the committee. After heated arguments by lawmakers from the zone including deputy senate president, Omo-Agege (Delta), George Sekibo (Rivers), Bassey Albert (Akwa Ibom) among others. Senate president, Ahmed Lawan ruled against lawmakers demand from the zone that the 5% recommended by its committee be allowed to remain.
The Nigerian senate passed the PIB, reputed to be the oldest bill in the NASS after over 2 hours long meeting with the minister of state petroleum, Timipre Sylva, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari. The bill also addressed a number of other issue like gas flaring, contract transparency among others.
The house of representatives also on Thursday passes the same bill after it’s ad hoc committee laid their final report before the house. With this development, the PIB is now ready to be forwarded to President Buhari.
The bill will eventually become a law guilding operators and stakeholders within the oil and gas sector when the president finally assent to it.
Meanwhile, the executive director, Center for Transparency Advocacy, Faith Nwadishi in a statement described the passage of the PIB by the NASS as “a good news”
She said “You may recall that the Bill was passed by the last Assembly without assent by the President, necessitating a review of the Bill and it was represented to the National Assembly by the executive.
“The Centre for Transparency Advocacy congratulates Nigerian especially, the civil society, media, host communities and donor agencies that gave their supports leading to the achievement of this result which is a positive step towards having a reform petroleum industry
“The first hurdle has been crossed, we expect the leadership of both arms of the National Assembly to quickly harmonize their versions of the passed Bil and send same to the President for his assent.
“In the same manner, we charge the President to assent to the bill as soon as it comes your desk in fulfilment of your electoral promise to Nigerians and your commitment to a better managed petroleum sector” she concluded.