Buhari to forward revised petroleum industry bill to lawmakers
After initially rejecting an oil sector reform bill passed by the previous set of lawmakers two years ago, saying it whittled down his powers as Petroleum minister, President Muhammadu Buhari is forwarding the long-awaited bill to lawmakers and consideration could start early next week.
Foreign news service Reuters reported Wednesday that the national assembly has already chosen teams of members who will work most closely on individual portions of the bill.
Excerpts of the bill seen by Reuters, includes provisions that would streamline oil and gas royalties, boost the amount of money companies pay to local communities and for environmental clean-ups and alter the dispute resolution process between companies and the government.
It also includes measures to push companies to develop gas discoveries and prescribes a framework for gas tariffs and delivery.
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“The senate and the legislature have a good relationship which will enable the speedy passage of the PIB unlike the previous administrations,” Niyi Awodeyi, CEO at Subterra Energy Resources Limited, said.
In August, Timipre Sylva, the minister of state for Petroleum Resources said that the Federal Government is re-introducing a revised version of the Petroleum Industry Bill to the National Assembly within the next two weeks.
Sylva also said that the new PIB has merged the various aspects of the bills including fiscal, administration, governance and host community aspects into one bill which would be considered together for passage.
The minister further said that in order to prevent previous delays in the passage of the bill, the government has embarked on broad consultation with stakeholders to arrive at a bill that would not be encumbered in the national assembly.
However, the bill had not left the presidency since then. The two-decade-old oil bill had suffered needless delay. The governance aspect was passed by the 8th national assembly but President Buhari refused to assent the bill.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives must approve it before Buhari can sign it into law.
For most stakeholders, there is no telling when the PIB will become law this year. But it is clear that the uncertainty over the bill has been a major drag on the industry over the years, significantly limiting its ability to attract both local and foreign capital at a time when many other countries are scrambling to exploit their oil and gas resources.
Although Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and boasts the secondlargest proven oil reserves and the largest gas reserves, it lags several other continental producers in terms of progressive policies and reforms.