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PIGB: best anniversary gift – Nigerians hail Senate



Senate in plenary approving the PIGB
Senate in plenary approving the PIGB

Nigerians have hailed the 8th Senate for its passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), an aspect of the Petroleum Industry Bill which had lingered for 17 years.

Speaking on the achievement of the 8th Senate in the last two years, they said that the upper legislative chamber had fared very well even with much heated antagonism.

A cross section of Nigerian who spoke to our correspondent in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) said that the President of the Senate Bukola Saraki had indeed kept to his words to pass the PIB and other relevant bills that woukd help businesses.

After the inauguration of the 8th Senate on June 9, 2015, the President of the Senate Dr Bukola Saraki had promised to pass the PIB, make National Assembly Budget public and see to the passage of bills that will support local businesses.

A media practitioner Mr Owede Agbajileke said that the Senate under the leadership of Senator Bukola Saraki ought to be commended for breaking the PIB jinx after 17 years.

He said that the Senate had indeed kept to its promise of passing the bill along with other relevant bills that would aid businesses.

“It is a perfect gift as the 8th National Assembly clocks two years in a few days: it is a landmark achievement of the senate and a good way to celebrate and remember the body of lawmakers.

“The fact that it is coming in trenches is also a right step to get the whole bill passed without the usual rancour and complexities.

“The unbundling of theNNPC and the scrapping of DPR would ensure more profit while we await other aspects of the bill to be passed.

“Government has not made profit from the oil sector but with this bill, government stands to make over $30 billion in three years.

Mr Agbajileke expressed optimism that the House of Representatives would concur and the executive would give its assent.

Also speaking, Mr Amarachukwu Nelson an Economist also commended the Senate for passing the bill. He especially commended the President of the Senate Dr. Saraki for keeping to  his promise to lead the senate to pass the bill.

Mr Nwosu who is also a public analyst said that the bill had gone through many sessions of the National Assembly but only succeeded under Saraki.

He added that passing the bill shortly before the Senate marks its two years anniversary was the best anniversary gift to Nigerians.

“I think is it commendable, the PIB came over 14 years ago, it has gone through many sessions of the National Assembly and it had always ended in conflicts within the senate or with the executive.

“So it is commendable that in Saraki’s time, the Senate saw it and passed: although it is being passed in stages.

“I commend Saraki because this governance bill will set the tone for the industry pending when other aspects are considered and passed.

“With this governance bill, a lot of things can kick start : talking about how oil companies should be responsive, talking about oil spillage, management and governance in the industry.

“People have been clamouring for this for many years but within two years this Senate has been able to pass the key component of the bill, i think it is commendable and it shows the kind of person that the President of the Senate is,” he said.

“He added that as the senate clocks two years, there was a lot of things to be celebrated in terms of number and quality of bills passed in the last two years.

He said that even with the court cases that had bedevilled the 8th Senate, they have done very commendable work in the sector.

Mrs Zita Ajuya a business woman also commended the Senate for the passage of the Bill saying that it had taken too long already.

Mrs Ajuya urged the House of Representatives to do likewise while also call on the Executive to assent to the bill quickly.

Mrs Ajuya however called on the Senate to start work on other components of the bill especially the area of compensation for the host communities.

“I really comment the President of the Senate Bukola Saraki for the initiative to slit the PIB into parts so that it can easily be considered and passed.

“However the Senate should not go to sleep but must start work on other parts of the PIB.

“Just like it has passed the governance aspect of the bill within two years, i expect that by the time the Senate is celebrating another two years, other components of the bill would have also been passed.

The governance aspect is commendable but others must follow quickly because the governance bill should not work as a standalone,” she said.

A legal practitioner Barr. Segun Sawyerr commended the Senate for passing the bill and for unbundling the NNPC.

He however stressed that it woud have been best if the NNPC was set up like the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Ga Limited where government has no business with appointment of who runs the company.

He insists that that is the only way the NNPC would be profitable.

He also urged the senate to pass other aspects of the bill.

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