Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has warned international oil companies and Oil Producers Trade Section (IOC/OPTS) operating in the country not to induce lawmakers during consideration and passage of the Fiscal and Host Communities Bills -components of the Petroleum Industry Bill-now before the National Assembly.
Saraki said this when the leadership of the IOC/OPTS visited him, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja, yesterday.
The Senate president said the leadership of the Eighth National Assembly has made it clear to all lawmakers involved in the process to live above board.
He urged the OIC/OPTS leadership to report any lawmaker who seeks any personal favour when the process of passing the bills begins this month.
“Let me also seize this opportunity to just make some ground rules clear. We, as the Eighth National Assembly-I told you at the beginning that the two Houses will be on the same position on the remaining bills. I think we have shown that on the first bill we passed.
“I am confident that for these other bills, too, we will do the same. I want to assure you that it is in our own interest and the leadership has made it clear to all the members involved that this must be a transparent process.
“We are doing it in the interest of the country. Leadership is not going to tolerate any hanky-panky. No favours. No gifts. Nothing must be given to get this work done.
“And, we want to mandate you that if you see any of these, you should be able to bring it to the attention of the leadership. All we want to see is a bill that is in the interest of Nigeria and we have read the riot act to all our members that nobody should approach anybody; for any interest towards any benefit and I want to make this very clear.
“This is the position of leadership on this issue. We must ensure that everything is above board because this is not just a bill for today, but for future generations. We must make sure that in our time, it is done properly,” the senate president said.
Saraki said after passage of the PIGB by the National Assembly, which is now before the Presidency for assent, the process for the passage of the Fiscal and Host Communities Bills will soon commence.
Earlier, leader of the IOC/OPTS delegation and Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Limited, Mr. Osagie Okunbo, said the visit was essentially to assure the leadership of the National Assembly that the group will make its memorandum on the bills available to relevant committees of the National Assembly during the public hearing.
He also said it was important to ensure that the PIB that will be passed is one that will essentially promote investment.
“Our primary concern is that at the end of the day, we both lay the years of uncertainty to rest, but, even more importantly, that a bill that is passed eventually is one that we can all be proud of and the one that we can say will encourage investments in all parts of the oil industry,” Okunbo stated.