*Says delay in passing bill has cost Nigeria over $200bn
20 January 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mr. Waziri Adio, has urged the National Assembly to pass all four subsets of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before 2019 elections.
Adio, who noted this in a series of tweets on Thursday, said the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), a part of the PIB which passed third reading in the house of representatives on Wednesday, was the easiest nut to crack.
He said the Petroleum Host Community Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill would present challenges before final passage.
He added, however, that passing the bills was “possible”, even as he encouraged the National Assembly to make it happen so the executive can sign them into law before politicking begins.
According to Adio, “Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB). The Nigerian Senate had passed the same bill on May 25, 2017. This is a major and commendable development.
“The PIGB is still not law yet, but this is worth celebrating as we have gone on a merry-go-round for almost 18 years, and at enormous costs to the country, estimated by NEITI to be beyond $200 billion.”
He added that “Since the journey for an omnibus law for the petroleum sector started in 2000, with the introduction of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in the parliament in 2008 as a key milestone, this is the farthest we have come on this issue.
“These other bills, especially the first two, are supposed to be more contentious than the PIGB. In a sense, what has been passed may be the easiest of the lot.”
Adio further explained that “If the National Assembly succeeds in passing all the four bills and the executive signs them all before politicking for 2019 starts, that will be a solid achievement indeed. It is possible. Please do this for Nigeria.”
The NEITI boss noted that there might be a need for a conference committee to harmonise if the versions passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly are not exactly the same. “Then, the harmonised version will be represented to the two houses, then a clean copy will be produced and sent to the executive”
“For the PIGB to become law, there is the not-so-small matter of assent by the President or over-ruling of his veto or his refusal to assent after a prescribed period.
“All these are matters of processes. It is safe to say we are now within a touching or, if you will, an-agbalumo-seed-spit distance of a new governance law for the petroleum sector.”
Adio also used the opportunity to commend the Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and other members of the legislature and members of the executive arm of government.
“Special commendation should go to Bukola Saraki, senate president, for taking the lead on this, and Yakubu Dogara, speaker, chairs, and members of the relevant committees and their other colleagues in Nigerian Senate and Nigerian house of representatives for bringing this to a historic point,” he tweeted.
“Commendation should also go the executive arm for tactically yielding the ground to the legislature and providing quiet support to allow national assembly sort an issue that it has been blamed for over three assemblies.”