Buhari Approves Oil Reform Bill As Senate Set To Resume Tuesday

President Muhammadu Buhari may formally present the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the Senate next week, which could trigger major oil reforms, sources have said.

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources had presented the bill to the president last month for his endorsement after it had consulted with stakeholders in the oil and gas sector.

The PIB which has suffered nearly two decades of delay was split into sections for speedy passage.

It was learned that Buhari endorsed the bill last week with his team making preparations to present it to the National Assembly for the legislative procedure.

Benefits Of The Bill

According to Reuters, the bill would reduce some oil and gas royalties, boost money companies pay to communities and for environmental clean-ups and improve the dispute resolution process between companies and the government.

It also included measures to push companies to develop gas discoveries and a framework for gas tariffs and delivery.

The Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria (GACN) recently met stakeholders to review the gas framework towards this aim.

GMD of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, who received some lawmakers on oversight visit, Tuesday, urged them to act fast on the bill.

“We need to act quickly to move from this unstable situation to a very stable one; and the only way is for us to get the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to work, so that countries and investors can work with us,” Kyari said in a statement.

Senate Expects PIB After Resumption

Before embarking on its annual recess, the Senate President Ahmad Lawan had said the Red Chamber expects the Executive to transmit this PIB section upon resumption next Tuesday.

Lawan had asked the Committees on Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream); and Gas to engage the Executive arm of Government, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), on the bill, to reduce the passage time.

“We want to work assiduously with the Executive arm of Government to ensure that we pass the PIB and that the President signs it into law, because we have everything to lose if not passed this year,” Lawan noted.

Senator Babajide Omoworare, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), promised to get back to our correspondent in a text message sent after phone calls.

On November 4, 2019, Buhari signed the amended Deep Offshore Act in London, still from the PIB. He had said the Act ensures Nigeria gets a fair, rightful and equitable share of income from natural resources for the first time since 2003.

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