09 August 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – NIGERIA’s House of Representatives has accused the Presidency of frustrating timely passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, expected to set out new agenda for the nation’s oil and gas sector.
The bill was tabled before the House when members held last plenary before proceeding on vacation.
The leadership of the House had indicated, before going on recess, that it would start consideration of the PIB when it resumed from the long break.
Speaking in Abuja, Wednesday, Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Mr Albert Sam-Tsokwa, said it was disturbing that it took the executive over one year to re-work the bill.
He said the delay in consideration of the bill by the national legislature was occasioned by “the inexplicable delay by the executive in drafting the new bill.”
Tsokwa said: “The House reintroduced the PIB as soon as the Assembly was inaugurated and we took the first reading. But the executive said the House should not do so because it was working on a better version.
“We waited for one full year but the executive could not bring their version. Then on the very day the House was going on recess, they brought the bill. The impression now is that the bill was brought in July and the first reading would wait till September. This is an attempt to blackmail the House and we will not succumb to such cheap blackmail.”
He maintained that if the executive was genuinely committed to the PIB, it would have been more proactive in handling the bill, arguing that the House had proved several times that it placed national interest above other issues.
He asked: “If the executive was committed to the bill, why wait for more than one year to submit a bill that had been presented to the previous Assembly?”