The House of Representatives is set to pass the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, into law in September. A thirty-member committee, with five members drawn from each of the six geo-political zones of the country, is expected to start work on the bill in the third week of this month.
Ndudi Elumelu, the minority leader of the House, who spoke to reporters, weekend, said the House would go ahead with the process of amending and passing the bill, even without the input of the executive. He was responding to questions on whether the bill was presented to the House by the executive for reconsideration.
“We don’t need the executive to tutor us. We are going ahead with considering the bill. An ad-hoc committee has been set up with five people per zone, plus House Whip as chairman and the chairman on banking and currency, Victor Nwokolo, as his deputy,” Elumelu said.
Nwokolo, the deputy chairman of the committee, isclosed that the committee would start work on the bill in the third week of this month.
“We are commencing work on the third week of August on the bill,” he said. Another lawmaker, Nicholas Ossai, advised the President to cooperate with the National Assembly on the piece of legislation to enable more investments in the oil and gas industry.
“I expect the President to lay that bill before the National Assembly in September, so we can deal with the issue, so that a lot of investors can come into the oil and gas industry and create jobs,” Ossai said.
The PIB was originally introduced to both Chambers of the National Assembly in December 2008. The piece of legislation has since undergone several revisions and has been the subject of controversy and debate. On 18 July 2012 President Goodluck Jonathan presented a new version of the bill to the seventh National Assembly for reconsideration and re-enactment but the bill was not signed into law until that regime lapsed in 2015.