Reps Begin Consideration Of PIB Report Today

Baring last minute change in schedules, the House of Representatives will begin the clause-by-clause consideration of the report on the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill on Wednesday (today).

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, announced this on Tuesday in Abuja (yesterday) during the plenary.

Ihedioha presided over the session in the absence of the Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal.

Ihedioha had earlier (last week) directed that copies of the document should be circulated to all 360 lawmakers, preparatory for the consideration in the Committee of the Whole.

“By now, I am sure copies of the report have been circulated to all of us.

“I personally went to the Office of the Chief Whip to get my own. Please, check the Chief Whip’s office to pick your copies” Ihedioha stated, adding that the consideration would start today.

The report on the bill, which aim is to reposition the petroleum industry for better output and economic reward, has been long awaited.

The 23-member Ad hoc Committee on PIB had produced its report on March 12, more than two years after Tambuwal inaugurated it on November 15, 2012.

The committee was chaired by the Chief Whip, Mr. Ishaka Bawa, a Peoples Democratic Party lawmaker from Taraba State.

However, the House delayed the consideration and possible passage of the bill, as lawmakers abandoned it to focus on the 2015 general polls.

The report, among others, recommended that the President should be stripped of his discretionary power to grant petroleum licences and leases to operators in the country’s oil and gas industry.

In making the recommendation for the removal of the President’s power, as contained in Section 191 of the original bill, the committee recommended competitive bidding for such awards to “avoid the practice whereby the power for the award of oil blocks was discretionary.”

Similarly, the committee recommended the removal of the Minister of Petroleum Resources as the chairman of the National Oil Company, proposed to assume the duties of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other key industry agencies.


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