From Tony John, Port harcourt
NATIONAL Assembly has said that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), would be passed in April, 2021.
This was even as the joint Adhoc Committee of the National Assembly has expressed regrets over the poor condition of the nation’s refineries, saying the passage of the PIB would revive the refineries to function optimally.
The joint committee of Senate and House of Representatives stated this during a visit to the Port Harcourt Refinery Company, Port Harcourt, yesterday, in continuation of its oversight visit of the refineries in the nation in view of the passage of PIB.
Chairman of the Adhoc Committee in the House of Representatives, PIB, and Chief Whip of the House, Mohammed Mougunu, stated that the committee was poised to passing the petroleum bill as soon as possible.
Mougunu noted that the main focus of the Bill was to entrench reformation of all the nation’s refineries to international standard, noting that there was need to make the country’s refineries more competitive.
He said: “The main trusth of the PIB is to reform our oil and gas industry, to make it more competitive and to bring their operation in tandem with International best practices.
“We are here in Port Harcourt Refinery to see their constraints and how best within the prodigies of PIB, leverage on same and then make their operations more competitive with a bid to attracting the much needed investment in the oil and gas industry, especially against the backdrop of the fact that the world is now moving away from fossil fuels to renewables”.
The committee’s co-chair, said NASS would ensure the passage of the long awaited PIB in April, adding that to bill would bring to end capital flight.
He said: “There is need for us to make it more competitive. Our intention is to pass the PIB with the speed on light by the end of April, 2021. So that Nigerians will get the benefit of a reformed oil and gas industry that is much more competitive to attract direct foreign investment and then conserve our own foreign Revenue and tackle our infrastructure need”.
Speaking earlier in a meeting with management of Port Harcourt Refinery, PHRC, the Senate Adhoc Committee Chairman on PIB, Senator Sabo Nakudu, noted that Committee was mandated to submit its report to the representatives as soon as possible.
He said: “We are tasked with the responsibility of looking at the PIB and to submit our reports as quick as possible. By first week of next month, we have to submit our reports.
“We have to go to all the refineries in the downstream to be able to capture the state of affairs.
Also, Sen. Albet Bassey, who is Chairman, Upstream, at the Upper Chambers, expressed regrets over the moribund condition of the nation’s refineries, noting that efforts were on to revamp the facilities.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of PHRC, Ahmed Dikko, in his response, expressed optimism that rehabilitation of the facility would commence in April.
He said: “We are very optimistic in PHRC all the support we require is given and the ones we require from the Government is also given. We have a team dedicated to this work and we are working. I am very confident and sure that we are going to bring this facility to optimal production capacity in a very short time.
“Our engagement has been very different. We try to carry everybody along. There is transparency in what we do and we require the right support while we need to have it.
“We are trying to start this activities within the next two months. This of course is premises on the Covid-19 that we know is disturbing everybody around the world and the EPC, (Engineering Procurement and Construction) arrangement is almost concluded and approvals are almost gotten.
“So, by and large, by next month or April, we would have mobilised the contractors to site. And we need to run this till about second quarter of 2023 while we commission what we are doing in phases”.