24 May 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA — SOME Nigerian senators have concluded arrangement to introduce a private member Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the Senate for consideration and subsequent promulgation into law following delay by the government to forward it.
The move by the senators to present the Bill became imperative borne from the fact that they have expressed concern that at the moment industry operators were confused as to whether the country was still going to operate under the old petroleum act or with a new industry bill.
The bill when introduced by the Senators, will help restore the peoples’ confidence in the oil sector.
Answering questions from journalists at the National Assembly, Senate Committee Chairman on Petroleum (Downstream) and Chairman of the Senate Joint Committees that is investigating the petroleum subsidy, Senator Magnus Abe (PDP, Rivers South East) said delay on the part of the Federal Government to send the bill to the National Assembly had seriously affected investment and confidence in the oil and gas sector.
Senate report not ready
Meanwhile, Abe has disclosed that the Senate report on the probe of petroleum subsidy was not ready for presentation.
He said: “The report is not ready and so cannot be submitted tomorrow. So tomorrow if we are asked, we will ask for more time to do what we are doing. The committee met and has set aside Wednesday and next Thursday to re-invite some key organisations and personalities with whom we have issues and clarify those issues with them.
“As soon we finish that we will be getting our report ready. What we want to do is to make sure that as much as possible the report is based on facts and only facts and should not be speculative in any sense.”
Speaking further on the proposed PIB, Abe said with the National Assembly commencing debate on the private member PIB soon, government on its part could introduce its own version any time it was ready, adding that at the end of the day, government’s version would be married with that of the private member bill whenever the government was ready.
According to Abe, “the PIB, for example, we’ve all agreed that it is not moving as we expected it and I have asked my staff, I have also consulted some of my colleagues, and we have decided that we are going to look at one of the old versions that had been submitted before and submit it as a private member bill and kick start the process.
“At any time, the executive feels the need to bring what they have, they can bring it and we can add it to what we are already looking at and proceed.”
On what would be the fate of the Senate’s report on the fuel subsidy in view of the fact that the House of Representatives had already submitted their own report, Abe said the fact that the House had already submitted its report did not in anyway interfere with the constitutional right of the Senate to conclude its own investigation and reach its own conclusion as may be appropriate.
He explained that the two chambers might not necessarily see the issues the same way even though the subject matter was still the same.
“We have seen the House of Reps report. We will try as much as possible not to ….they are two different investigations and two investigators, we see things from how you see them, so we are looking at the facts as we see them and it is only when we finish that we can see how we tally or do not tally with what the House of Representatives has done, but there are a lot of things that we are looking at.”