The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura, has stated that it might not be feasible for the National Assembly to pass the petroleum reform bills into law this year.
The present administration had split the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into four parts – Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), Petroleum Industry Administration Bill (PIAB), Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB) and Petroleum Host Community Bill (PHCB) to fast-track its passage into law.
While the Senate had passed the PIGB, which is awaiting concurrence by the House of Representatives, the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill had all gone through second reading in the upper chamber.
However, speaking at a panel session at the 7th Practical Nigerian Content, organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDBM), which ended yesterday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Alasoadura stated that the National Assembly would likely focus on the 2018 budget.
Alasoadura said it was the target of the National Assembly to pass all the reform bills this year, adding that the exigency of the passage of the 2018 budget brought by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 7 would likely truncate this plan.
Alasoadura said the reform bills would be passed into law in the first quarter of 2018, stressing that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki is passionate about the reform bills.
According to him, the Senate president also appreciates the importance of the bills, and has placed the reform legislations at the forefront of his agenda.
“It is the 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. 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,” Alasoadura explained.
“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 added.
Alasoadura said the PIB was split 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 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.
Alasoadura reiterated that the PIB established clear rules, regulations, procedures and institutions for the efficient administration of the petroleum industry.
“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,” the senate committee chairman said.