The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), which provides for the governance and institutional framework for the petroleum industry and for other related matters.
The bill which was passed by the Senate in May 2017, seeks to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), provides for the establishment of Federal Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated, Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Nigerian Petroleum Assets Management Company and National Petroleum Company and Petroleum Equalisation Fund.
With the passage of the bill, a new regulatory agency known as Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission, (NPRC) would take over the functions of Petroleum Inspectorate (PI), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) when signed into law.
Deputy Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bills, Victor Nwokolo (PDP, Delta), who led the debate on the report, explained that some subsidiaries of the NNPC had also been merged into an entity to be known as the Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission. According to him, the House Committee adopted the Senate’s version of the PIGB.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, yesterday enjoined President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, sign into law the PIGB.
The Speaker assured that the bill will be transmitted to the President as soon as it is harmonised with the Senate version passed last year.
He explained that the House had to expedite action in the passage of it’s own version of the bill following failure of the executive to present a draft bill to the National Assembly.
Dogara, who described the passage of the PIGB as historic and landmark achievement by the 8th National Assembly after it was first introduced to the parliament by late President Umaru Musa Yaradua in 2008, expressed optimism that once the long-awaited PIGB bill becomes operational, the petroleum industry will witness drastic improvement.
He contended that the enactment of the legislation would attract investors and open up the sector as the NNPC would be unbundled with the creation of other bodies.
The Speaker, however, noted that work would still continue on other aspects of the petroleum in accordance with the 8th Assembly’s Legislative Agenda.
Meanwhile, the Senate has directed its Joint-Committee on Petroleum and Gas Resources to speedily conclude work on the segment of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that deals with the interests of oil producing communities otherwise known as Host Community Bill.
The Senator Kabiru Marafa-led joint committee was actually given four weeks ultimatum in July last year to submit its report on the Bill but has since failed to do so.
President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, gave the charge at the commencement of Senate proceedings yesterday.
The Host-Community Bill, which was endorsed and referred to the committee in July 2017 was structured to bring direct funding for the development of the petroleum host-communities under the direction and control of the communities themselves.