29 September 2011, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Senate President David Mark Wednesday said the existence of different versions of the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has been the major hitch to the passage of the bill by the two arms of the National Assembly.
The bill, which has generated a lot of interests among Nigerians, did not go beyond the first stage of clause-by-clause consideration in the two chambers before the Sixth Assembly wound up in June.
Mark said while inaugurating the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream): “The problem with the PIB was that when it showed up, there were so many versions”, adding that “as many as three or four versions were in the hands of senators and members of the House of Representatives.”
He, however, described the PIB as “the Bible for the petroleum industry”, saying it was “necessary to get it off the ground if we are to build the sector and that is why it is necessary for cooperation between the legislature and executive”.
He said since the entire economy of the country depends on the petroleum industry, the much talked about Vision 2020 would be a pipe dream “if we don’t get it right in the sector”.
Mark, however, asked the committee to ensure that the PIB is worked upon as soon as possible to resolve all problems associated with it so that it could be passed into law by the seventh National Assembly without further delay.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Magnus Abbe (PDP, Rivers), said he was aware of the circumstances surrounding the PIB and assured Nigerians that the committee would reach out to all stakeholders to ensure that the copy that would be presented would be only one version that would tackle all the problems in the sector.
Other committees inaugurated Wednesday were those of Employment and Labour, Environment and Ecology; Privatisation; Establishment; and Drugs and Narcotics.