The Petroleum Industry Bill moved one step closer to becoming law after Senators on Thursday began to consider its provisions after a committee report.
The Senate upper legislative chamber had on Tuesday, received the report of its Joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream); Petroleum (Upstream) and Gas Resources on the PIB.
Senator Sabo Mohammed (Jigawa South-West) who chairs the Joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream); Petroleum (Upstream) and Gas Resources presented the report of the committee.
He said the PIB is designed to update and replace the outdated provisions with a more comprehensive and current petroleum industry law that aligns with global standards.
He added that it also seeks to empower institutions and not individuals, remove bad governance which leads to inefficiency and corruption in the country’s petroleum industry.
Speaking on the PIB, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege said the bill will create an enabling environment for investors to come in and invest in Nigeria’s oil sector.
He, however, appealed that the equity share holding of companies be increased beyond five percent as contained in the report of the committee.
On gas flaring, Senator Omo-Agege was opposed to the use of penalty funds in development of frontier gas basins. He said such funds should be channeled into developing affected communities.
According to him, the communities are the ones affected by gas flaring, and therefore whatever funds are raised from penalizing companies involved in gas flaring should be used for remediation purpose in affected communities by providing them hospitals and roads, among other basic amenities.
The Senator representing Niger East, Senator Sani Musa, however deferred on the observations made by Senator Omo-Agege, and appealed to the lawmakers to desist from rancour so as not to impede the passage of the PIB.
Meanwhile, Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is expected to brief the Senate on Thursday on technical aspects of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2021.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, disclosed this at Wednesday’s plenary.
“Before plenary tomorrow, the leadership of the Senate has decided to invite NNPC GMD to come and brief us in a closed session.
“The opportunity is for those of us who are not members of the joint committees who had interactions with NNPC, DPR to at least hear some of the technical details, financial details and implications of certain provisions in the bill,” he said.