Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has promised the expeditious passage of three petroleum industry reform bills when the 8th Senate resumes from its annual recess.
He listed the three bills the Senate will prioritise upon resumption from recess to include the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill.
The proposals are aimed at providing legal frameworks and repositioning the country’s oil and gas industry in line with global best practices.
The bills have been referred to the Committees on Petroleum Upstream, Downstream and Gas. The joint committee is expected to submit its report upon resumption of the Senate from annual recess by September 19, 2017.
Speaking on the issues that will take up the Senate’s time over the next 22-months, the Senate President also stated that it will focus on developing Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit through appropriate legislation; looking at more bills aimed at repositioning the national economy so as to enable it address the rising unemployment and strengthening Nigeria’s democracy through legislative oversight on government establishments.
In a statement on Sunday by Yusuph Olaniyonu, Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Senate President, he added that other issues that would pre-occupy the upper chamber of the federal legislature are the need to entrench transparency in governance at all levels, creating universal health coverage law and strengthening the institution of the Senate by ensuring that people begin to understand the role of parliament in the governing of the nation.
“The Host Community component of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which looks at the ecological debt incurred against communities where petroleum exploration happens, and the community participation and security of these communities will also be on the front-burner of our affairs. This is something Nigerians can watch out for.
“Similarly, the Industry Administration component of the PIB, which seeks to open up the industry for investment and growth, as well as create the much-needed expansion of the industry by allowing new entrants into the operations of the industry is now at the committee stage at the Senate. We will work to quickly pass the bill.
“This is why, as we return in September, we will be finalizing on our infrastructure and social intervention pieces of legislation. These are laws that will not only make it easier for small and medium enterprises across the nation to do business. We will make laws that would create ample opportunities for all Nigerians to realize their potentials,” Saraki stated.
The Senate President emphasized that even though the Senate only had less than 22-months to complete its term, with several noteworthy achievements already recorded, it would not take its foot off the pedal.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja