Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, revealed on Wednesday that the National Assembly has commenced consultation with the Executive to enact a fresh version of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and ensure its immediate passage.
Lawan said because the PIB was not passed by precious assembly, the Ninth Assembly was determined to see to the eventual passage of the bill to address the numerous challenges faced by the oil and gas sector.
Specifically, Lawan said that the National Assembly under his leadership would constantly interact and collaborate with the executive to foster quick passage of the bill.
Lawan made the disclosure during a meeting with representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who paid him a visit at the National Assembly, Abuja.
The IMF delegation was led by Amine Mati, Senior Resident Representative Mission Chief for Nigeria and accompanied by Jesmine Raman; Zainab Mangga; Nanrup Ibrahim; Osana Odonye; and Harrison Okafor.
Lawan while receiving the delegation explained that the interface between both arms of government would produce a new PIB to be drafted from scratch, and which would be passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President before the end of the year.
He noted that the Petroleum Industry bill as referred to has defied passage over the years since 2007.
“In 2011, there was another effort by the government, that bill was not passed as well. In 2015, there was a legislative effort and the PIGB was passed eventually, but at the end of the day was not signed.
“So, we came up with a new idea in the ninth National Assembly, that the fact that the Executive tried by drafting a bill and bringing it here for two tenures, then the legislature tried to do it on its own, none saw the light of the day.
“This time around, we should actually interact and collaborate more even before the bill is born.
Let the Petroleum Industry bill be one of the Executive and Legislature, and that means starting to work on the bill from scratch between both arms of government.
“We are in consultation already, and by the time we are able to fashion out the bill, our committees will swing into action.
“We believe that this time around, the ninth National Assembly will break the jinx and should be able to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill,” Lawan said.
He added that the economy would get a boost when the National Assembly passes the Petroleum Industry Bill before the end of the year and is signed into law.
Lawan however appealed to the IMF to support Committees of the National Assembly in the area of capacity building for legislators.
He noted that such support to relevant Finance Committees would assist in the discharge of oversight functions and guarantee prudence and efficiency on the part of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.
“The fact that the National Assembly is critical to the development of this country means that you should help us build our capacities.
“Members of the finance committee should be able to have more capacities to discharge their responsibilities, and also when they engage Ministry of Finance or the Financial Institutions, they should be able to have very solid platform to exercise oversight critically to ensuring there is prudence and efficiency,” the Senate President added.