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House of Reps vows to revisit PIGB, harmonize grey areas



The House of Representatives has said it will revisit the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill which President Muhammadu Buhari refused to sign into law.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, said in a statement on Tuesday the House would address the issues raised by Buhari.

Kalu said there were a few “pain points” for the private sector and the executive, which stopped the President from assenting to the bill.

He also said the executive was against the bill for prioritising individual interest over public interest, because the proposed retention of 10 per cent of petroleum revenue by the proposed National Petroleum Regulatory Commission despite their budgetary allocation would reduce the revenue available for sharing among the three tiers of government.

The lawmaker said Buhari also rejected the bill because of the scope of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund under the bill was not in tandem with the policy of his administration on an independent PEF.

Kalu said, “It is clear from the dissonance of stakeholders on the PIGB that the efforts of the 8th Assembly to carry the public along was not sufficient. This is very instructive to us because the 8th Assembly did make considerable efforts in stakeholder engagement. Recall that they went beyond public hearing into stakeholders consultation and engagement across the nation and importantly around the oil-producing communities.

“The problem, however, is that the committee’s (on PIGB) engagement efforts was limited to the draft of the bill already before them. Building stakeholder consensus is key to passing the legislation, obtaining presidential assent and ensuring that subsequent implementation is effective.

“Going forward, the 9th House of Representatives will seek to achieve this consensus by bringing together the various political and economic constituencies at the earliest stages to harmonise the different proposals under consideration before the legislation is brought to the floor. This way we hope to overcome the differences that have thus far hindered all prior attempts at reform. One of the considerations is to constitute a committee charged with the responsibility of drafting the bill de novo.

“The process of raising the draft must clearly involve and incorporate the views, as much as possible, of all stakeholders including their validation of the final draft.”

Kalu said despite the fate of the PIGB in the previous assembly, “we must admit that we have made some progress”.

He added, “The issues of all stakeholders, both private sector, civil society and the executive are clear at this point. All we need do is harmonise their concerns in redrafting the bill from the ground up. But this must be done expeditiously. As you are aware, the PIGB is only the first aspect of a holistic reform of the petroleum industry. There are other aspects of the defunct and bifurcated PIB waiting to be passed into law such as the Petroleum Host Community Fund and Petroleum Fiscal Regime. The sooner we pass the PIGB the sooner we get to the other issues plaguing the sector, especially regarding host community conflicts.

“Fortunately, Mr President has already given us his word to sign the PIGB into law when it is resent to him and we are hopeful that we can count on that when the time comes.”

He said while the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and Organised Private Sector want separate regulators for the upstream and downstream, the environmentalists are concerned that nothing in the bill had provided for environmental regulation.

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