It has been reported (here and here) that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) on Thursday, March 6, 2013, scaled through the Second Reading on the floor of the Senate and has been passed on to the Senate Committees on Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream), Gas and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
Senators Emmanuel Paulker (Bayelsa Central), Chairman Committee on Petroleum(Upstream); Magnus Abe (Rivers South/East), Chairman Committee on Petroleum(Downstream); Nkechi Justina Nwaogu (Abia Central), Chairman Gas Committee; and Umaru Dahiru (Sokoto South), Chairman Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters are charged with collating the views of the Senate on the Bill together with those of the public, which would be received through public hearings, and report same to the House within six (6) weeks.
The Senate President, David Mark commended the accord shown by his colleagues in getting the Bill passed to the Committee Stage and expressed his delight that the Bill had enjoyed robust debate as no fewer than 81 Senators had made contributions on the Bill over the past 3 days.
Mark summarized the general issues the Senate had with the Bill as:
- The provision for a Petroleum Host Community Fund;
- The insufficiency with regards frontier exploration; and
- The excessive powers of the Minister of Petroleum.
He also made note as to the impracticability of certain portions of the Bill such as the Bill exempting the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) assets to be privatized from provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
Although he pointed out that the Bill was a “worthy Bill”, he also mentioned that no Bill had come through the Senate and not been tinkered with. He assured the House that subsequent to the public hearings, “amendments, additions and subtractions” will be made to the legislation.