Politics

Senate Assures Speedy Passage of PIB Bill

The Senate President Ahmad Lawal has assured of the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, before the end of this year to address all bottleneck in the extractive industry.

The Senate President gave the assurance, while declaring open a webinar organized by the Nigeria Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS in collaboration with Nigeria Natural Resource Charter NNRC, to validate a toolkit for the Nigeria Parliament on Extractive Sector

According to NILDS and NNRC, the Toolkit was developed to serve as a guide to lawmakers  in their engagement with actors in the Oil and Gas sector.

In his keynote speech the Senate President Ahmad Lawal, represented by the Chairman Senate Committee on Upstream Petroleum, Senator Bassey Akpan, noted that the Toolkit initiative was apt considering the fact that the petroleum industry was long overdue for profound reform

He said.“Our petroleum industry is almost stagnant and for long needing profound reform.”  This legislative guide on the extractive sector is coming at a very important time when oil revenues are dwindling, a fact made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. . The legislative Toolkit When applied appropriately, can significantly result in improved governance of Nigeria’s immense resources”

Earlier, the Director General NILDS Professor Abubakar Suleiman, said Nigeria’s approach to managing its mineral resources has not improved over the years.

According to him

“The Toolkit has been prepared specifically to support the Nigerian legislature in ensuring effective technical decision-making as well as transparency and accountability in the management of oil, gas and mineral wealth of Nigeria for the good of all Nigerians”.

On his Part, chairman Expert Advisory Panel of NNRC, Mr Odien Ajumogobia, represented by a member of the panel, Mr. Osten Olorunsola, affirmed that the application of the Toolkit by the legislature, would interrogate the anticipated PIB to undermine its fitness to address gaps in the sector.

“Reform of the extractive sector is even more emergent now than it was before the COVID-19 health crisis that rocked the world this year. The fall in oil prices, increased borrowing, stalled economic activities have all put tremendous pressure on the Naira and the Nigerian economy. To recover, it is imperative that legislative reforms are expedient”

The participants were optimistic that the initiative would enhance the capacity of the National Assembly for overall improvement of the governance system.

Julian Osamoto.

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