The House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill, announce today, Sunday 21st April, that it is to hold its zonal public hearings in Port Harcourt, Enugu, Lagos, Kaduna, Ilorin & Gombe on Monday 22nd April & Tuesday 23rd April. The announcement may be found here. The Lagos public hearing is to be held at the Lagos Airport Hotel from 9 am to 4 pm each day. Given the importance of the PIB, the very short notice given by the committee is extremely disappointing is likely to affect the quality of the debates held at the sessions.
House of Representatives set to hold Public Hearings, other concerns
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on the PIB, and Chief Whip of the House, Isiaka Bawa has announced the House’s intention to hold zonal public hearings on the PIB across the cross section of the populace, TheGuardian has reported.
According to the report, the zonal public hearings to be held simultaneously on April 22 and 23, 2013 in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kaduna, llorin and Gombe would give an opportunity to state governments, state legislatures and professional/interest groups to participate in the passage of the PIB into law. This would culminate in a panel meeting during a three-day conference with the Senate in Abuja for harmonisation at the end of the scheduled hearing. The Abuja hearing, the date of which is yet to be announced would be the grand finale affording the final opportunity to the committee to collate the views of other stakeholders who might have been unwittingly left out of the zonal hearings.
Also in this report and a similar report, The Guardian highlights concerns expressed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) on certain aspects of the Bill. A major thread running through the institute’s recommendation forwarded to the Senate President and members of the National Assembly, was the excessive powers conferred on the Minister. The fiscal terms of the Bill also raised ICAN’s concerns, which argued that the terms were not favourable as they heighten uncertainty and endanger returns on investments.