22 March 2016, Abuja – Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Monday assured Nigerians that the crises in the Nigerian oil and gas sector would soon be a thing of the past as the reviewed version of the Petroleum Industry Bill would be laid at both chambers of the National Assembly next week.
He said that the Senate and House of Representatives had already resolved to jointly work on the bill.
Saraki stated this at a one-day National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable in Abuja, which had in attendance key stakeholders drawn from the executive, legislature and the private sector.
The event was aimed at seeking workable solutions to the nation’s economic problems as participants deliberated on the recommendations of the Business Environment Legislation Review Report, which was submitted by a team of experts on February 29.
Saraki said, “The Senate and the House of Representatives are working very closely together. As part of this commitment, we will all see next week when we lay down the Petroleum Industry Bill. The bill we are going to lay in both chambers is the same.
“We are going to lay the same version in the Senate and the House of Representatives, because that is going to be the first time we will keep our words.”
The declaration by the Senate president lent credence to reports that the new version of the PIB would be sponsored by the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly as a private member bill.
Saraki lamented the harsh economic environment in the country and noted that most of the laws regulating the business environment were obsolete.
In his contributions, the Head, Economic Growth, Department for International Development, Nigeria, Mr. Simon Kenny, noted that a major problem facing the country was its over-reliance on the already dwindling oil revenue.
He said the fall in oil price provided a good opportunity to diversify the Nigerian economy resources.
Kenny said, “If you look at the demands of oil produced in Nigeria and the low price of oil, and if you divide that by the vast numbers of people and population of Nigeria, there is only around $200 of oil per capital per year in the country.
“There is no way even the rising price of oil can raise Nigeria to anything above a middle-income country. And I know that the aspirations of Nigeria have gone beyond that to become a high-level income country. So, oil revenue has dropped and this is the reality you are facing at the moment.
The Chairman, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu, stressed the urgent need for the National Assembly to review the laws that regulate the conduct of business in the country.
“This meeting is an effort and a humble acknowledgement by our leaders that our laws are not perfect; that we need to review, amend and enhance many of them,” he said.