Subsidy removal makes passage of PIB more critical – Reps

*House of Representatives.

*House of Representatives.

…Blame FG for delays in passage of bill

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

21 May 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The House of Representatives has said passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, has become more urgent in light of the recent removal of the subsidy on petroleum products, even as it blamed that the executive arm of government for the delays in the passage of the bill through its failure to transmit the document to the National Assembly.

Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrasak Namdas, who spoke at the weekly briefing of House reporters, said since the government’s version of the PIB is not forthcoming, the House would look into the bill from a fresh perspective.

The representative, however, praised the Federal Government’s decision on petrol pricing, saying it would stop the spate of diversion of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.

Namdas also urged a section of the organised labour and civil society organisations (CSOs) threatening strike action to “pursue other welfarist programmes and let the subsidy be taken away.”

He added that “Oil subsidy, in my opinion, is funding the rich, therefore l will appeal to the government to come up with some form of palliatives.”

He said the palliative measures in the 2016 Appropriations Act would help to cushion the effects of downstream oil sector liberalisation.

According to him, rather than have oil subsidy, “market forces should be allowed to influence price. Based on this premise, the House Committee will continue to engage labour.”

In a similar vein, Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Leo Ogor said with the subsidy removal, the PIB will promote transparency in the oil sector.

Ogor who spoke with reporters noted that the passage of the PIB by the National Assembly will enhance transparency in the oil sector.

According to him, with the decision to remove petrol subsidy, the National Assembly would need to consult extensively in the new PIB.

He regretted that the House of Representatives is yet to receive the PIB, adding that what is currently before the House is a bill seeking the administrative restructuring of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

He said, “There is no way PIB would have solved the issue of fuel imports and consumption. We have made a lot of mistakes as a nation; we have wasted trillions of naira in subsidising what we shouldn’t have subsidised.

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