By Bukola Hameed
The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Petroleum Industry Bill.
Members unanimously passed the 319 clauses of the report of the bill to make history.
The PIB had spent about 20 years at the National Assembly, failing to be passed by previous assemblies before the House passed it on Thursday.
By Thursday’s development, the third reading of the bill will be a mere formality soon to be done by the House.
Reacting to the action of the House, the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, described it as a “landmark achievement.”
The speaker commended the 74 members of the PIB committee and the entire House for a job well done.
He said, “I want to use this opportunity to underscore the point made by Hon. Monguno. It is to underscore how big what this House has just done today is. It has been 20 years in coming.
“I want to commend the 74 Wisemen, who produced this piece of legislation and who have become the voices of all 360 members.
“This 9th Assembly will be recorded on the right side of history.”
The speaker used the opportunity to restate that even the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill would be passed in the next few days.
Giving a synopsis of the report earlier, the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee on PIP, Rep. Mohammed Monguno, recalled how the bill suffered “several postponements at the National Assembly.”
He spoke further, “This bill is about our economy and it beholds on us members of 9th House so that our names will be written in gold.”
Monguno gave the highlights of the PIB, one of which is the provision of a Governance Structure for the petroleum and gas industry in Nigeria.
He explained that this would mean the unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to “Metamorphose to NNPC Limited to be run as a commercial entity.”
Monguno also said the bill created a Commission to oversee the operation of the industry by ensuring transparency of all transactions.
He added that another provision of the bill is the creation of a Host Community Fund to take care of the interests of oil-bearing communities.
A frontier exploration agency is also established in the PIB to continue with oil exploration activities in other parts of the country.
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