The Petroleum Industry Bill, (PIB 2020) passed first reading on the floor of the Senate during plenary on Wednesday.
The controversial bill was presented by Yahaya Abdullahi, the Leader of the Senate, and was read for the first time by the Ahmad Lawan, the President of the Senate.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mallam Mele Kyari, had last week said that international investors are losing confidence in the Nigeria oil industry, especially in the upstream sector.
NNPC boss said that growth in the industry is being inhibited by lack of stable fiscal environment in the country.
He noted that the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill has led to the recent divestments from the country.
On Monday, The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila pledged to accelerate legislative action on the PIB
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan directed the Clerk of the Senate, Dauda Ibrahim El- Ladan to ensure that all the Senators must start getting the copies by tomorrow and ensure that they all have them on Tuesday next week.
Punch had on Monday reported that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) would be scrapped in the new bill.
NNPC would be replaced with Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited while Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission which will be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of upstream petroleum operations will be established according to the report.
However, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, later said that NNPC would not be scrapped when the Petroleum Industry Bill is signed into law.
According to him the agency would be fully commercialized in the interest of Nigerians.
He said, “I have heard a lot of noise about the NNPC being scrapped but that is not envisaged by the bill at all.
“We’ve said that the NNPC will be commercialized in the interest of Nigerians”
PIB 20 years on
PIB has been in the works for over 20 years. President, Olusegun Obasanjo, inaugurated the Oil and Gas Reform Implementation Committee in April 2000, to review and streamline all existing petroleum laws and establish an all-inclusive regulatory framework for the industry.
President Umaru Yar’Adua continued the project and the PIB was presented to the Sixth National Assembly in September 2008. But the disagreements on the sharing of oil profit among the international oil companies, host communities and the federation, stalled the bill according to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
In July 2012, the revised version of the bill was sent to the Seventh Assembly, by President Goodluck Jonathan administration. It was passed by only the House of Representatives at the tail end of their term.
In the first term of Buhari, the Eighth NASS split the bill into four parts – the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill — in a bid to fast-track its passage into law.
The PIGB was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives in May 2017 and January 2018 respectively.
In July 2018, the PIGB passed by NASS was transmitted to Buhari for assent but he eventually declined to sign the bill into law.
The Presidency sited the provision of the PIGB permitting the Petroleum Regulatory Commission to retain as much as 10% of the revenue generated as one of the reasons the President declined to assent to the bill.