Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters, Ita Enang, has said that the updated the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is now with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Enang made the disclosure on Channels TV “The Core” programme that features policy makers and a live audience.
The programme looks at the relationship between the executive and the National Assembly in the last 20 years.
Enang was responding to a question from a member of the live audience on the status of the bill.
The PIB, which has been in the works since 2008 when it was first introduced to the legislature, suffered setbacks in the sixth and seventh National Assemblies.
The bill seeks to change the organisational structure and fiscal terms governing the industry.
The eighth National Assembly split the PIB 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.
After its passage by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the PIGB was transmitted to the President for assent in July last year to enable it to become law but it emerged in August that Buhari declined to assent to the bill.
Enang, had earlier identified the provision of the PIGB permitting the Petroleum Regulatory Commission to retain as much as 10 per cent of the revenue generated as one of the reasons Buhari declined to assent to the bill.
Buhari stated this at the Presidential Villa, when he hosted the newly-inaugurated national executive committee members of NUPENG led by its national president.
The president agreed with NUPENG that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) needed to become an act, but explained that dialogue was ongoing on it.
The House of Representatives on May 23, re-committed and passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) after considering President Buhari’s concerns.
The lower legislative chamber passed the bill after removing the provisions Buhari disagreed with.
It said the decision to withdraw the affected clauses in the bill was because the president’s observations were germane for the smooth operations of the bills.
Buhari had, while hosting the newly-elected officials of NUPENG in December last year said: “I fully agree with you that reforming the petroleum industry will unlock numerous untapped potentials for the nation. However, these reforms must be well thought out and must have the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians as its core objective.
“Such reforms cannot and must not be rushed, if we must get it right. We are still suffering from the effects of many legacy policies that were rushed and passed without fully appreciating the consequences of the provisions embedded in them.
“Whatever decision we take now will impact either negatively or positively on generations to come. The Petroleum Industry Bill was conceived to ensure Nigeria’s future generations are positively impacted by its oil wealth; it was never about short-term gains. I want to assure you that dialogue on the Petroleum Industry Bill is still ongoing. At the end, we will have a bill that the nation will be proud of.”