The Senate Joint Committee on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill yesterday published a Public Notice in the Punch Newspaper, inviting industry stakeholders and the general public to a hearing on the Bill scheduled to hold on December 7, 2016 at Conference Room 0.22 of the Senate Building, National Assembly Complex, Abuja for 10.00pm daily. The announcement also invites the submission of Memoranda on the Bill which must be submitted not later than December 2, 2016.
News reaching us from the Punch Newspaper confirms that the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), which is an unbundled version of the PIB, described by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura, as proposing “a slim, focused yet robust framework” for effective and institutional governance of the Nigerian petroleum industry, passed second reading in the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, November 2, 2016.
This speedy action on the Bill seems to confirm our earlier report of the Senate’s plan to ensure that this version of the PIB is passed before the end of the legislative sitting for 2016.
An interesting development however is the recently launched 7 Big Wins of the Federal Government, which is the government’s Roadmap of short and medium term priorities to grow the Nigerian oil and gas industry. One of the key areas of focus of the Roadmap is oil and gas Policy & Regulation which proposes two industry reform bills – a Petroleum Industry Reform Bill (PIRB) and a Petroleum Fiscal Reform Bill (PFRB). The PIRB is expected to address all governance and operational industry reform issues much like the PIGB and the Roadmap outlines an objective of concluding and passing the PIRB & the PFRB either by the end of December 2016 or by the end of the first quarter of 2017 (a seeming contradiction in the Roadmap).
The question is, is the PIGB and the PIRB one and the same? This is very doubtful. If these two Bills are two different Bills as we suspect, then there is a likelihood of the resuscitation of the supremacy battle between the National Assembly and the Presidency earlier reported on, which we fear may end up stalling the passage of the Bill if not properly managed.