By Queen Nwabueze
Nigerian President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has vowed, the National Assembly will pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into Act soonest to ensure Nigerians benefit greatly from the country’s crude oil and other natural resources.
Declaring open a 2-day public hearing on the bill by the National Assembly on Monday, the Senate President guaranteed that the bill will bring about the much-needed improved revenue generation in the country once the bill sails through.
In his words: “Let me say this, we (National Assembly) will pass this Bill not without ensuring that it is a bill that satisfies certain conditions. Nigeria is blessed with these resources, we want Nigeria to benefit optimally from them. In fact, we are in a hurry because we have lost so many years of benefits that we could have had.”
The Senate President confirmed that the country has suffered a lot of setbacks in the industry and lost local and foreign capital to other countries because the PIB has been lying dormant over the years.
According to him: “The mere knowledge that the nation’s oil industry is still being governed by laws enacted more than 50 years ago is ludicrous and extremely disappointing. As legislators, we will strive to deliver a Bill that will enhance the growth of our oil and gas industry, modernize our fiscal system and enhance competitiveness, while creating harmony for all stakeholders. This is a promise we have made and that we shall achieve.”
“Nigeria must have an Oil and Gas Industry that benefits its people. Equally, our Oil and Gas Industry must be competitive. We must create a sustainable investment climate, where business in the sector will flourish,” he vowed.
He added that the renewed willpower by the legislature to pass the Bill into Act “is driven by the need to overhaul a system that has refused to operate optimally in line with global standards, resulting into loss of continental competiveness, transparency, accountability, good governance and economy loss for the petroleum industry and the country.”
The Senate President cleared, it was the lingering challenges and uncertainty of the oil and gas industry that is facilitating the quick attention the PIB is receiving now in the NASS.
“It is estimated that with the evolving of new technologies, fossil fuel may be less attractive if not of no value in the next 20 years. It is, therefore, time for us to make maximum benefit of our fossil fuel reserves through this reform before it fades away,”Lawan noted.
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