By AUSTIN OWOICHO,, Abuja
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura said that the passage of the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law this year might not be feasible.
Alasoadura attributed the likely non-passing of the bill by the National Assembly to the exigency of the passage of the 2018 budget brought by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 7.
Alasoadura disclosed this in a panel session at the ongoing 7th practical Nigerian Content, organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDBM) that the bill will be passed into law in the first quarter of 2018.
The chairman said that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki understands the importance of the bill, therefore making it to always be at the forefront of the his agenda.
“It is aspiration of the senate president that the bill be passed on time, but practically with the exigencies of passage of the budget and other bills it might not be so,’ Alasoadura said.
“ We were on the fast lane when we passed the governance aspect of the bill with the intention to pass other bills, however, not involving the House of Representatives, slowed down the pace of the passage.
“We have constituted joint committees with the House of Representatives for speedy passage of the four bills pending before the national assembly. Moreso, we will ensure that we are timely on passage of the bills,’ he said.
Alasoadura said the PIB was splited into four parts – Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill to fast-track its passage into law.
He added that the PIB established clear rules, regulations, procedures and institutions for the efficient administration of the petroleum industry.
He stated, “This bill establishes the legal and regulatory framework, institutions and regulatory authorities for the Nigerian petroleum industry. It also stipulates deadline for operations in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors.
“Given the high expectations for the PIB and the long controversy that had surrounded the passage of the bill for over a decade, we needed to break it into four parts to enable its passage into law within the short time frame we have.”
He noted that the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill had all gone through second reading.
“We expect the report from the committees in no distant time and hope to pass the bills into law before the end of first quarter in 2018,” Alasoadura added.