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‘National Assembly is ready to pass Petroleum Industry Bill’ – Lawan

NEWSMAN, Abuja – National Assembly will pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the end of this quarter as legislators work to tighten loopholes and bolster Nigeria’s earnings from its natural resources.

A related amendment to the Deep Offshore Oil Production Sharing Contract Act has increased revenue accruing to the Federal Government from $216 million to $2 billion yearly.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan while speaking on the bill yesterday during a brief ceremony to mark his 62nd birthday organised by his aides in Abuja, vowed that the National Assembly is ready to confront and defeat the demons that have militated against the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by passing the legislation this year.

“PIB is like a demon. People both within and outside the country are ready to work against it as they have been doing for the past 14 years but the Ninth Senate and by extension, the Ninth National Assembly, will defeat the demon with the current bill before both Chambers.

“The patriotic zeal, sheer determination and unity of purpose by serving senators across party lines, to do this latest by the end of first quarter of this year, will be deployed on the bill immediately the Senate resumes on 26th of this month the way it did with Deep Offshore Oil Production Sharing Contracts Act (Amendment) Bill,” he said.

“By the grace of God, when we resume, we will start work on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). That is going to be one heck of a legislation that not only Nigeria but the entire world is waiting for, because that will change our economy.

“Money will start flowing so we want you to be in that journey with us so that you too, when the history of PIB passage and assent will be written, your names will be reflected.

“That PIB thing, there are people both within and outside the country who will work against it but it is going to be the strength of our patriotism to pass it’’, he added.

Lawan said “When in 2019, we said we would pass the amendment to the Deep Offshore Oil Production Sharing Contract Act (amendment) Bill, people didn’t want it to happen because they stopped it from happening for 20 years. You bring it, they will come and do something and then the thing will disappear, The Nation reported.

“So, when we say we will do it, some of them came to me and said SP, you see, you don’t have to do this thing now, it’s not going to work. I said, ‘we will try’. So, we started. The second day they came and said, ‘if you do this thing, we will leave this country because that will be against some interests.

“I said for once, they should allow us do something for our country. And I laughed and said, you are not going anywhere. The kind of thing you do in this country, where else in the world will you be allowed to do that? So, we are going to do this amendment.

“They thought it was a joke, in a week we finished the amendment because the House of Representatives was on recesses, the day they returned, they concurred.

“Mr. President knew how important that amendment was, he was in London and that bill was flown to him and he signed it on a Sunday just to give that amendment the validity that was needed. That we lost billions of naira where we are supposed to be given $2 billion every year from the last 20 years, they were giving us $216 million. But from last year, after the amendment, it is now $2 billion.

“People didn’t celebrate us, that was what we did for our country, maybe we could have gone the other way but I think we are proud of ourselves as members of the National Assembly that we have done something worthwhile for our country.

“That is what we intend to do with the PIB, we will pass the PIB that will ensure that businesses here get a very competitive environment, that they are able to make profit and stay and even invest more. We are not going to be selfish that only Nigeria should have, yes, because the resources are here, we must get the benefits of the resources here.

“The IOCs who are here will also benefit from their investments, in fact, oil is everywhere now so we have to have a legislation that will create a very competitive environment that we can get investors in oil and gas from Ghana, from Angola, from Algeria, all to move to Nigeria.

“We promised Nigerians that we are going to achieve that by the grace of God in the year 2021”, Lawan said.

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