At last, the Nigerian Senate on Thursday passed the long awaited but delayed Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.
The PIGB is the first part of the Petroleum Industry Bill, which the National Assembly has failed to pass since 2008.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, long promised that the bill will be passed by the Senate under his leadership and to make this possible, the Senate broke it the bill into three parts.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenary, said the bill had been in the National Assembly “for many years and we have not been able to pass it.”
He added that a commitment was made at the beginning of the eighth Senate that the bill would be passed.
Saraki said, “This is a bill that not only Nigeria, but our friends and investors in the petroleum sector have been waiting for us to put a framework that will ensure transparency and accountability, and create an enabling environment for the petroleum sector to stimulate growth in the sector.
“We hope that by what we have done today, we will continue to show the kind of commitment and leadership and contribution to developing this country. We are proud of what we have all done today. We gave the commitment and we have passed this bill. It had not been possible for many years but we have done it now.
“I hope that with this bill, the oil and gas industry will begin to see the new kind of investments that is necessary. We will plug the loopholes; we will be able to reduce the areas of corruption and inefficiency; our people will be able to benefit better in the petroleum sector and Nigerians will be better for it.”
The passage of the bill is coming 14 years after the original Petroleum Industry Bill was drafted and submitted to the National Assembly.
The PIGB, formerly known as the Petroleum Industry Bill, had suffered setbacks since 2003 when it was first sent to the National Assembly.
This was part of the recommendations in the report by the Joint Committee on Petroleum (Upstream, Downstream, and Gas) on the PIGB, which was adopted by the Senate at the plenary on Wednesday.
While presenting the report, the Chairman of the Committee, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Petroleum, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, said some subsidiaries of the NNPC had also been merged into an entity to be known as the Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission.