By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives Tuesday passed for second reading the new Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) after debates on the general principles of the proposed legislation.
Peoples Daily reports that, this is 4th times PIB is under going through legislative process in the National Assembly, with the exception that the bill will see the light of the day after passing through 3rd reading.
Titled: “A Bill for an act to provide legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host community and for related matters”, the PIB, amongst others seeks to scrap the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
The bill also provide a new agency to be known as Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDRA) which shall be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of midstream and upstream petroleum operations in the industry.
It equally proposes the establishment of Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission to be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of upstream petroleum operations.
It further seeks the commercialisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to become Nigerian National Petroleum Company to be incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act by the Minister of petroleum.
Debating on the bill, the Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa called on the lawmakers to support the passage of proposed legislation which is long overdue.
He said:”Permit me to take the House down memory lane. This was a Bill that began in the 6th Assembly. Unfortunately, this Bill has not been able to see the light of the day. Whatever controversies surrounding the Bill, the Bill is now before us. It is my hope that members will look at this Bill”.
Contributing, Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elemulu said: “I rise to support that this PIB. The bill is long over due. The essence is to remove some uncertainties. The essence is to institutionalize the ease of doing business.
“If passed, the Bill will institutionalize good governance and ease of doing business. It will attract investors if passed fast. Our four refineries are bad That’s why we import from Niger when we are supposed to be giving to Niger. We should be giving Niger and not us importing from Niger. We need to pass this PIB as soon s possible.
Also speaking in support of the PIB, Deputy Minority Lead, Toby Okechukwu said: “If PIB will cure the fact that Nigeria imports petroleum products from Niger republic, I am for it. If Nigeria has four refineries that are not functioning, if the PIB will cure it, I am for it. If the opportunity we had in the 70s, 80s will come back, I am for it”.