With the Senate opening debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and obvious opposition from northern senators, Kabiru Gaya, a senator from Kano on Wednesday adduced reasons for the hard stance against the Bill.
Senators will today round off debate on second reading of the Bill before being committed to Senate committees on petroleum (downstream and upstream) for further legislative actions.
Since the debate kicked off Tuesday, senators from the North had opposed the 10 percent host community fund included in the new Bill.
Gaya, chairman, Senate Committee on States and Local Government, told BusinessDay, “We want to support the PIB; we will do all we can to get the PIB passed; but there are issues raised in that Bill which will not see the light of the day because it is not going to be in the interest of the North and the country in general”.
He explained that “where we see that the Bill do not favour the interest of Nigerians, we will certainly come up with a new idea. We have gone through the Bill, from page one to the last page, we have seen areas where we will support the Bill; we have seen areas that we will need to amendment.
“It is not that we don’t like the Bill; I remember I was a member of the committee on petroleum (upstream) and we know we had a Bill last time. When we finished with it, we had seminar, we had a retreat and went through the Bill and we came out with the Bill but my chairman at that time, Lee Maeba, went back and came out with something and we said that was Lee Maeba’s Bill; that was not the Senate Bill, that was why the Bill couldn’t pass because it was not actually what we discussed and agreed at the Senate committee”.
“All the senators like the Bill, but it will be amended in the interest of Nigeria. If we don’t pass the Bill, we are not encouraging investors to come in; it is worthwhile, but it must be corrected for Nigeria’s interest. So there are many areas which will be looked at and amended”.
TUNJI OLAWUNI, Abuja