By Ifeanyi Nwoko
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has outlined the focus of the Senate upon resumption from recess to include passing other aspects of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
He said in a statement that both the Administrative and Fiscal Policy Bills for the Petroleum Industry as key parts of the priorities for the 8th Senate in the next 22 months.
Speaking on the issues that will take up the Senate’s time over the next 22-months, Saraki stated that it will focus on Bills aimed at repositioning the national economy so as to enable it address the rising unemployment and strengthening Nigeria’s democracy through legislative oversight on government establishments.
He added that other issues that would pre-occupy the upper legislative chamber are the need to entrench transparency in governance at all levels and creating universal health coverage law.
He said that the Senate will stop at nothing in strengthening the institution of the Senate by ensuring that people begin to understand the role of parliament in the governing of the nation.
“From Day One, this Senate had its own legislative agenda. You will see that some of the things we have been doing, are working our way through this agenda, in order to cross items off our list and deliver on our promised change.
“This has allowed us to treat more petitions than any other parliament in our nation’s history, and pass more Bills at the mid-term mark.
“This is why, as we return in September, we will be finalizing on our infrastructure and social intervention pieces of legislation.
“These are laws that will not only make it easier for small and medium enterprises across the nation to do business.
“We will make laws that would create ample opportunities for all Nigerians to realize their potentials.
“Additionally, the Host Community component of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which looks at the ecological debt incurred against communities where petroleum exploration happens, and the community participation and security of these communities will also be on the front-burner of our affairs. This is something Nigerians can watch out for.
“Similarly, the Industry Administration component of the PIB, which seeks to open up the industry for investment and growth, as well as create the much-needed expansion of the industry by allowing new entrants into the operations of the industry is now at the committee stage at the Senate. We will work to quickly pass the bill,” Saraki said.
The President of the Senate emphasized that even though the Senate only had less than 22-months to complete its term, with several noteworthy achievements already recorded, it would not take its foot off the pedal.
He said that although a lot had been done, the senate would continue to do more because it would take some time to feel the positive effects.
“This is why we will continue to keep pushing and keep pressing for the people that we represent.
“So that one day, they will look back and say that “Yes, truly, the 8th Senate really worked hard for us,” he said.