NASS may pass PIB in April says Sylva

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Nigeria’s national assembly may pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in April, the country’s minister of state for petroleum said.

“The National Assembly has expressed the intent to pass the PIB bill in April 2021,” said Timipre Sylva, told reporters on Thursday.

The bill, which is intended as a complete overhaul of the Nigerian oil and gas sector, seeks to, among others, ensure an increased level of transparency and accountability in the sector by strengthening the governing institutions to attract investment capital through changes to the governance, administrative, regulatory and fiscal framework of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

The key objective of the fiscal aspect of the bill is to encourage investment in the petroleum industry while optimizing revenues accruing to the Government.

It also seeks to ensure that transparency is achieved in the administration of the petroleum sector and Nigerian content is promoted through an efficient and effective regulatory framework.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari sent the rework of the bill to the Senate in September.

The bill has seen different back and forth over 20 years. There have been failed attempts by the previous national assembly to pass the legislation for the country’s oil sector.

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During the seventh assembly, the lower legislative chamber passed the bill, but the Senate failed to concur.

The eighth assembly, subsequently, broke the PIB into five components and passed the petroleum industry governance bill (PIGB) but President Muhammadu Buhari failed to sign the bill, citing some constitutional reasons.

Sylva said the National Assembly will pass the bill in April, adding that efforts are being made to meet the target.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House of Representatives, had said the bill will be passed by April or May.

Lawan noted that some forces within the country and outside are working to frustrate the passage of the bill.

But the minister expressed optimism that the PIB will be passed in April, adding that both chambers of the national assembly are committed to making it work.