PIB: Lack of consultation stalled passage of bill for 21 years – Lawan

As Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Sector (Downstream); Petroleum Sector (Upstream); and Gas begins a 2-day public hearing, of a bill for an Act to provide a legal framework for the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Senate President, Ahmad Lawan said the bill was stalled for 21 years for lack of consultation.

In his opening address to declare the public hearing open on Monday in Abuja, Lawan recalled that the former President Olusegun Obasanjo constituted the Oil and Gas Reform Implementation Committee in 2000, was dead on the spot for lack of consultation.

He lamented that successive administration’s efforts from the 6th National Assembly to actualise the bill didn’t yield results, while he expressed optimism that the 9th Assembly under his leadership would change the narratives.

“It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this 2-Day Public Hearing organised by the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Sector (Downstream); Petroleum Resources (Upstream); and Gas for the consideration of a Bill for an Act to Provide Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal Framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, the Development of Host Communities and For Related Matters, 2020 (SB. 510) otherwise known as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

“Recall that the journey of the Oil and Gas reforms began in April 2000 when the then President Olusegun Obasanjo Inaugurated the Oil and Gas Reform Implementation Committee.

“The work of the reform Committee culminated into the Petroleum Industry Bill which was later transmitted to the 6th Senate in September, 2008 and since then, efforts by successive Senate to get the Bill passed have not yielded the much desired result.

“This in my own opinion, may be attributed to inadequate consultation and cooperation from stakeholders. However, the 9th Senate in its wisdom, made the passage of the Bill a priority in its legislative agenda and has since in conjunction with critical stakeholders, been working assiduously to get the Bill passed this year.

“Arguably, Nigeria’s oil and gas industry has experienced several shocks and challenges over a long period as a result of outdated laws.

“These challenges include those dictated by global practices, the persistent calls for the deregulation of the downstream sector, the agitation of the oil producing communities and the unbundling of the NNPC, all these, underscore the need for urgent legislative reform.”

Lawan maintained that the PIB, they intend to pass into law, would overhaul a system that has refused to operate optimally in line with global standards, which he added, resulted in loss of continental competitiveness, transparency, accountability, good governance.

Speaking further on inherent challenges in the oil and gas industry, he said: “More so, the challenges surrounding the future usefulness of petroleum resources and the increased level of uncertainty on oil demand calls for great concerns.

“It is estimated that with the evolving of new technologies, fossil fuel may be less attractive if not of no value in the next 20 years. It is therefore time for us to make maximum benefit of our fossil fuel reserves through this reform before it fades away.”

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