Senate passes petroleum bill, six others rejected by Buhari

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The Senate on Wednesday passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill and six other bills earlier rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The passage of the bills followed the adoption of their clause-by-clause consideration that lasted some hours.

Other bills passed are the  Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill, National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Est.) Bill, National Research and Innovation Council (Est.) Bill and  National Agricultural Seeds Council Bill.

The rest are the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill and  Independent National Electoral Commission Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill.

Buhari had refused to sign the bills for various reasons ranging from financial constraints, negative impact on Nigerians, duplication of responsibilities, violations of extant laws to a  lack of consultation with relevant stakeholders.

The Senate recently adopted the report of its Technical Committee on Declined Assent to Bills, which reviewed the  President’s observations and redrafted the affected clauses in the bills.

Withholding assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill in August 2018, Buhari had kicked against the provision permitting the Petroleum Regulatory Commission to retain as much as 10 per cent of the revenue generated and expanding the functions of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund.

In the new bill, the Senate agreed with Buhari’s submission and reduced the revenue generated by the regulatory commission from 10 percent to   five per cent.

It also expunged the Petroleum Equalisation Fund from Part IV of the new bill.

The new bills will be transmitted to the House of Representatives for concurrence before being sent to the President for his assent.

PIGB is a fraction of a more comprehensive Petroleum Industry Bill, one of the longest standing bills in the National Assembly.

It was first introduced to the National Assembly in 2008 as an executive bill by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

The Sixth National Assembly (2007 – 2011) refused to pass the bill.

It was brought back to the National Assembly in 2012 by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

In 2014, 47 out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives in the Seventh Assembly (2011-2015) were present when the bill was passed a few hours to the end of their tenure. But the bill failed to get concurrence from the Senate.

The current proposal is a private member bill sponsored by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Tayo Alasoadura.

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