10 Years After, Senate To Pass PIB Next Week

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The Nigerian Senate is now set to pass the Petroleum Industry (Governance) Bill, otherwise known as PIB, next week.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly will also amend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act (amendment) Bill 2016, among 24 other bills which will be debated next week.

According to the notice paper of the Senate, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) will also be considered on Wednesday in accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, LEADERSHIP FRIDAY exclusively learnt yesterday.

While the report of the committee on INEC will be laid by its chairman, Senator Abu Kyari on Tuesday, the Senate will deliberate on the report the next day with a view to taking a decision on the amendment of the law setting up and guiding the activities of the commission, LEADERSHIP FRIDAY learnt yesterday.

However, the PIB will lead other major issues which the Senate will focus on in the week as the passage of the law forms the crux of the legislative efforts aimed at repositioning the economy.

The Bill to be known as Bill for an Act to Provide for the Governance and Institutional Framework for the Petroleum Industry and for other Related Matters, 2016, will be moved for second reading by Senator Tayo Aladura, who is chairman of the Committee for Upstream Petroleum Sector.

The PIB, which had been in the National Assembly for almost a decade, has now been broken into different bills to address various aspects of the oil industry. The plan, according to Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, is to ensure that the non-controversial aspects of the old law are quickly passed while the other areas that require more consultations will come later.

Sources in the Senate confirm that senators from the Niger Delta areas, who had moved for the suspension of the bill some months ago because they believed that the non-inclusion of the communities’ demands in the first phase may aggravate the tension in the oil producing areas, will hold a meeting next Monday to deliberate on the resuscitation and how to ensure that its passage move at top speed.

The plan is to ensure that the PIB is passed before the end of the legislative sitting for 2016.

The debate on MTEF, which had been suspended last week to enable the lawmakers get necessary information that will enable members have informed view of the proposed plans, will resume following the provision of the required details by the minister of budget and planning and finance.

There are five other Bills slated for second reading next week which are expected to help revive the economy.

They include the Bill for an Act to Repeal the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act which is aimed at establishing a Foreign Exchange Market and to provide for the Control, Monitoring and Supervision of the transactions conducted in the Foreign Exchange Market as well as a bill to repeal and re-enact the Customs Act.

Also to be discussed next week are the bill to establish the Public Private Partnership Regulatory Commission; the Bill for an Act to provide for a Legal Framework for the Cassava Inclusion Policy of the federal government to encourage cassava farming and other matters, and Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of Federal Entrepreneurship Centres at local government areas.

Eight other bills passed to the Senate by the House of Representatives for concurrence are to be discussed on Thursday while 13 reports from various committees will be discussed.

PMB Unveils New Petroleum Industry Roadmap

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, in Abuja launched a new roadmap designed to restructure the focus of the country’s oil and gas industry tagged “The 7 Big Wins”.

According to the minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, the project will cause massive development in the sector.

The minister said the programme will focus on seven key areas which include Niger Delta and security; policy and regulation; transparency and efficiency; stakeholders’ management and international coordination; gas revolution; refineries and local production capacity.

Speaking at the launch, President Buhari noted that despite the current challenges facing the petroleum industry, it remains critical to the Nigerian economy of today and the future.

“Oil and gas (sector) remains a critical enabler for the successful implementation of our budget as well as the source of funds for laying a strong foundation for a new and more diversified economy,” he stated.

The president pointed out that the country needs a virile and efficient oil and gas industry to take care of her foreign exchange requirements, even as his government is making serious effort to ensure that agriculture, solid minerals and other critical sectors of the economy support economic growth and contribute more to development.

“Therefore, the task before the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is to maximize the potentialities and opportunities across the whole range of the oil and gas industry to stimulate our economy in spite of the current challenges,” President Buhari said.

The programme, according to him, will help to instil a new culture of transparency and efficiency in the industry and streamline operations along the line of best practices by championing and implementing strategic reforms at every layer of the industry.

“This will help us improve oil and gas production, explore our frontier basins, improve our local refining capacity and, above all, build sustainable partnership with the oil producing communities.”

On the possibility of the new programme reviving the nation’s economy even now when the price of crude oil is low, Mr President said, “If we are able to plug the leakages and tighten loose systems that characterised this industry in the days of high oil prices, we are convinced that we can do even more with the little that we are getting at the moment than we did even in the time of plenty.”

Speaking on security in the Niger Delta, Dr Kachikwu said the roadmap took into cognisance the importance of peace in the region and had developed a strategy that will ensure that they are resolved.

According to the minister, the first step towards resolving the problem is to accept that there is a problem, stressing that the new thinking is to apply the global strategy of solving such challenges.

“At the beginning we should accept that there is a problem with security. And that problem is so critical that it cannot be left in the hands the military and we have to take some concrete steps towards addressing them.”

He stated that Buhari was scheduled to have an all-inclusive meeting with all the stakeholders from the region on Tuesday, November 1, 2016.

He said, “The president will, for the first time, have a meeting with the Niger Delta people. About 50 persons are scheduled to attend that meeting. It consists of all the kings drawn from seven or eight states involved in oil production in the area; the heads of security agencies will be part of that meeting; all the ministers from the Niger Delta area will participate.”

The minister stated that the meeting will be the first attempt to actually get the Niger Delta people to have a face-to-face discussion with the president, stressing that it will offer Mr President the opportunity to make the people understand his vision in terms of development and security for the region.

The roadmap, according to the minister, will transfer the security of oil and gas companies over to the operators instead of what is currently done.

“The security in the Niger Delta has to move from being the responsibility of government through the use of military to that of the oil producing companies as it is done globally. This means they will have to evolve a system that will allow them to work with the local communities to guard and protect their facilities.”

A new security structure, which will ensure collaboration between the oil companies and the host communities, is part of the roadmap, he said

The minister identified the lack of trust as one of the factors behind the security crisis in the Niger Delta.

The collaboration, according to the minister, will cover the trust deficit that had existed in the region and provide a very unique income earning opportunity for people within the local communities. He added that as long as the youths in the region are visibly engaged in activities that are income earning, the possibility of participating in militancy will be limited.

He described the new security strategy as a hands-off policy where government will only intervene when the need arises.

The minister explained further that the president had approved a proposal to tinker with how the 13 per cent derivative fund is used. “Right now, it is a policy tool for state governments. We are going to appeal to them that we need to put back a good portion of that into the communities in the form of investment,”

The minister disclosed that the roadmap is aimed at ensuring that the nation’s crude oil production rises to between 2.8 and three million barrels per day in the shortest possible time.

According to him, the roadmap will ensure that the nation’s refineries are upgraded, while at the same time providing conducive atmosphere for private individuals to establish more refineries which will enhance local consumption of crude oil.

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