The speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari as the petroleum minister to as a matter of urgency transmit the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the 8th National Assembly for a record third time.
The immediate past 7th National Assembly failed to pass the PIB, a recurring development that has greeted past assemblies which have failed to pass the bill since its introduction in 2008. Although the 7th House passed the Bill without the Senate’s concurrence, the passage was of no effect.
Dogara made the call yesterday at the opening ceremony of the National Assembly Dialogue on Security and Development facilitated by the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) in Abuja.
The speaker said Nigeria cannot have a “meaningful” discussion on the improvement of the national economy without discussing priority legislation such as the PIB.
Dogara said: “Undoubtedly, one of the most important pieces of legislation is the Petroleum Industry Bill. This is necessary because Oil and Gas still accounts for over 70% of our foreign exchange earnings in spite of the rapid fall in oil prices.
“We, therefore, cannot afford not to organise the sector in such a manner as to benefit the nation. In this regard, may I call on the president as the minister of petroleum to as a matter of urgency transmit a Bill to the National Assembly on how his administration intends to reorganise the Petroleum Sector.”
The speaker recalled the “checkered history” of the PIB which has stalled investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
“It (PIB) was introduced late in the life of the 6th Assembly and was not passed. In the 7th Assembly, a private Members Bill was introduced in the first month of that Assembly, based on the experience of the 6th Assembly. However, the last administration informally indicated that it would prefer an Executive Bill on the matter, which took over two years to materialise. It was passed only by the House of Representatives very late in its tenure without the Senate concurring.