*APC, NUPENG, PENGASSAN hail passage
The Senate on Thursday passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, which seeks to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and merged its subsidiaries into a single entity.
The passage of the bill came 14 years after the Petroleum Industry Bill was drafted and submitted to the National Assembly.
The PIGB, formerly known as the Petroleum Industry Bill, had suffered setbacks since 2003 when it was first sent to the National Assembly.
This was part of the recommendations in the report by the Joint Committee on Petroleum (Upstream, Downstream and Gas) on the PIGB, which was adopted by the Senate on Wednesday.
While presenting the report, Chairman of the committee, who’s Chairman of the Joint Committee on Petroleum, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, said some subsidiaries of NNPC had also been merged into an entity to be known as the Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPRC).
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenary, said the bill had been in the National Assembly “for many years and we have not been able to pass it.”
He said a commitment was made at the beginning of the 8th Senate that the bill would be passed.
The proposed NPRC is expected to be a one-stop-shop in the petroleum industry. It will also be allowed to retain 10 per cent of the revenue it generates as the cost of collection.
The proposed entity will be saddled with the responsibility of promoting efficient, effective, safe and sustainable infrastructural development of the industry, while ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations governing the sector.
The commission will also be in charge of implementation and maintenance of technical standards, codes and specifications in the industry in line with global best practices.
Meanwhile, the APC has commended the Senate for passing the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, describing the development as historic.
The party said the bill had sought to introduce reforms that would ensure greater transparency and accountability in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
NUPENG and PENGASSAN have also commended the Senate for the passage of the PIGB.
They however said, “The passage of the PIGB, while commendable, will not deliver the full benefits of the intended reforms except the other aspects of the PIB are also legislated.”