The joint Senate committee on Petroleum and Gas resources – downstream and upstream- has presented its report on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIB, a major step towards the passing of the bill which seeks to transform and reform the country’s oil and gas sector.
The PIB has been an ongoing project for years now and had been reconstructed and redrafted many times, but has never been passed into law.
After the report was presented to the Senate Plenary on Thursday, Senate President Bukola Saraki exclaimed in happiness: “What a historic day! We are getting there.”
He congratulated members of the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum (Upstream, Downstream and Gas) for fast-tracking the PIB and laying it at plenary- a feat he said was not possible in the last 17 Years.
The bill is designed to take care of the many loopholes and inefficiencies that had bedeviled Nigeria’s petroleum sector over the years, and President Muhammadu Buhari on assumption of office, had vowed to tackle head-on the massive corruption that hitherto was the order of the day.
Similarly, the 8th Senate also promised to pass the PIB before the expiration of its tenure.
The Senate had earlier explained after the bill passed for the second reading that the PIB “establishes a framework for the creation of commercially oriented and profit driven entities that ensure value addition and internationalization of the country’s petroleum industry.”
“The bill seeks to provide transparency and accountability in the management of Nigeria’s petroleum resources.”
This version of the PIB seeks to split the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, into two: the National Oil Company, NOC, and the National Petroleum Assets Management Commission, NPAMC.
The NOC, as proposed in the bill, will be an “integrated oil and gas company operating as a fully commercial entity and will run like a private company”, while the NPAMC will be a “single petroleum regulatory commission which will focus mainly on regulating the industry.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki had last week promised that the report on the bill would be laid today and that it would be presented for third reading on April 25, after which it may be passed by the upper legislative chamber.
If that happens, the bill will then be transmitted to the House of Representatives for concurrence and then to the president for assent before it will become law.