14 August 2016, Abuja — The needless struggle for supremacy led by the executive arm of government is the bane behind the current stalemate on the legislation and passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly, THISDAY has learnt.
The National Assembly recently commenced legislation on the bill but the move did not go down well with the executive, which saw it as an attempt by the National Assembly to take the shine off the presidency.
Against this backdrop, the executive which failed to formally present a newly drafted PIB to the National Assembly, has deployed moves to frustrate the legislature from considering the bill originated by the legislature.
Instead, the executive ordered the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to prepare a new bill which has been in the works at the legal department of the state-run oil corporation for the past four months.
Following the failure of the Seventh Senate to pass PIB and the attendant criticism that arose from this, the Eighth National Assembly declared its preparedness to pass the bill this time. Hence, it repeatedly appealed to the executive to send a new bill for its consideration.
But following the perceived complacency on the part of the executive, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, declared that the National Assembly would no longer wait for the executive.
Consequently, both houses of the National Assembly assembled a group of experts and came up with a new bill, which it re-christened Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).
The new bill, among others, seeks to unbundle NNPC and expunged the host community fund, which was opposed by a section of the country in the Seventh National Assembly.
Proponents of the host community fund had in the previous bill made it mandatory for oil companies to pay 10 per cent royalty to oil producing communities as compensation for land degradation, water pollution and other hazards associated with oil exploration in various communities.
However, at a roundtable conference organised by the National Assembly on March 21, 2016, Senate President Bukola Saraki, echoed Dogara when he said the National Assembly would kick start legislation on the bill the following week.
- This Day