PIB’s fate uncertain as elections take centre stage

The fate of the Petroleum Industry Bill is still hanging in the balance as none of the four bills in which it was split into has become law a few months to the end of the current administration.
Industry experts, in separate interviews with our correspondent on Monday, expressed doubt that the PIB would be passed as the general elections and the outcome might dominate discourse in the National Assembly till May 29.

The National Assembly said it had shifted its resumption date earlier scheduled for Tuesday (today) to February 26 following the postponement of the elections.

The PIB, which has been in the works since 2008 when it was first introduced to the legislature, suffered setbacks in the 6th and 7th National Assembly.

The bill seeks to change the organisational structure and fiscal terms governing the industry.

Currently, before the 8th National Assembly, it was split 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.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, 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.

The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, International Energy Services Limited, Dr Diran Fawibe, said, “There are a lot of hurdles to be crossed for the other bills to be passed. To do that during the remaining three months of this administration is very doubtful.”

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