The urgent need to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, popularly known as PIB, cannot be overemphasised. The passage has become more expedient in view of the numerous challenges undermining the growth and development of the oil industry in Nigeria.
In fact, there is no better time to pass the bill than now that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources are in serious need of ‘medical surgery’.
The bill is not only important to Nigerians, but also the economy of the country. It is also the most controversial bill in the life of this present seventh Assembly.
The PIB, expected to address the shortcomings in the petroleum sector, has been pending before the two chambers of the National Assembly since 2008. The joint Senate Committees on Petroleum Upstream, Downstream, Gas, Judiciary and Legal Matters had in November 2013 concluded its public hearing on the bill, promising that it would be passed into law.
The House had on March 12, 2015, adjourned sitting to March 31 shortly after the PIB report was laid on the floor of the House.
Before the House adjourned plenary, the deputy House spokesman, Hon. Victor Ogene, had assured that the PIB will be passed as soon as the House reconvenes.
But on resumption on Tuesday, the House abruptly adjourned sitting due to the fact that, members present were unable to form a quorum.
Speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, explained that the delay in the collation of the results of the Presidential and National Assembly elections might have caused the poor turnout.
Tambuwal said that the results of the election (as at then) were still being awaited, adding that the results of many senatorial districts and federal constituencies were also pending.
The development prompted the House Leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande- Adeola to move a motion for the House to adjourn plenary to April 1.
At Wednesday’s plenary, none of the motions and reports in the Order Paper was debated nor laid on the floor of the House. Even the 2015 budget captured in the Order Paper for third and final reading was left out.
Perhaps, the disposition of most of the lawmakers after the Presidential and National Assembly polls prompted the House not to embark on any serious business.
After reading his pre-resumption speech and one communication from one of the lawmakers, who defected from PDP to APC, the House adjourned to April 14.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday recalls that the Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, on PIB, Hon. Ishaka Bawa, had on March 12, 2015, assured Nigerians that the PIB will be passed into law as soon as the House returns in March 31.
Bawa further explained that the eventual outcome of the committee’s report will depend on the clause-by-clause consideration by the lawmakers. He added that its recommendations were not yet the position of the House.
In view of the general interest on the bill and for the fact that the country is currently losing $700 million every month because of the non-passage of the bill, the right time to pass the PIB is now; so as to entrench a good accounting policy and sanity, not only in the oil sector, but also in all aspects of the economy.

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