The Senate has again shifted the time for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill from this year to the first quarter of 2018 on the premise that the National Assembly has a lot of work to do in order to ensure the early passage of next year’s Appropriation Bill.
According to the Senate, lawmakers will have to shift attention to the 2018 Appropriation Bill presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, a development that will delay the ongoing process required for the passage of the PIB.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum, Upstream, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura, explained that although the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had earlier in the year stated that he wanted the PIB to be passed in 2017, the present circumstance on ground had shown that the passage of the bill would not happen until 2018.
Alasoadura, who spoke on Wednesday at the ongoing 7th Practical Nigerian Content Forum, told participants at the event that the increased call for the passage of the PIB was not misplaced considering its significance to the oil sector, but insisted that it would not happen this year despite the several years of delay.
He said, “The PIB will be passed in the first quarter of next year and this is because of the budget that was presented to the National Assembly by the President on Tuesday. He (Buhari) asked us to do all we can in order to pass the budget before the end of this year.
“So, there is much work to be done by the National Assembly on the budget and as a result of this, we won’t or may not have all the time to go through all that is needed for the passage of the PIB before the end of this year.
“The Senate president wants it to be done before the end of this year, but I have to be practical. For with the budget in place, I think we need to concentrate on its passage so that its implementation can also take effect in good time.”
Alasoadura admitted that the passage of the PIB had been delayed for so long and corroborated the argument of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote, that the bill needed to be passed, whether in good or bad shape.