Lawan Seeks Deep Oil Reforms Industry, PIB Passage Before 2020-end

The Senate President, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, on Wednesday called for deep reform in the Nigeria oil and gas sector, challenging the necessary committees to take lead the efforts in that regard.
As part of this determination, he expressed the resolve of the upper legislative chamber to ensure “that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is passed before the end of 2020.”
Should the Bill finally scale the hurdle of becoming an Act of the National Assembly, it would have spent all of 12 years in the works. Originally introduced in December 2008, the Bill has undergone numerous revisions and has been the subject of intense debate from stakeholders.
The bill seeks to establish a framework for the creation of commercially-oriented and profit-driven petroleum entities, while ensuring value addition and internationalization of the industry, through the creation of efficient and effective governing institutions with clear and separate roles for the petroleum industry.
Lawan, who spoke while during the inauguration of the standing committees of the Senate, charged them to ensure the discharge of their duties so as to address major challenges facing the nation.
According to him, “our country is facing the challenges of insecurity, while our largely youthful population is affected by unemployment, among other problems. Fortunately, we are also blessed with abundant agricultural land.
“We are similarly endowed with abundant solid minerals in all parts of our country. The oil and gas resources have remained our major source of revenue. Our challenges can be appropriately addressed with our rich endowments. What we require therefore is the strategic deployment of those resources.
“We can plan and use our agricultural potentials to achieve not only national food security but also a process for exports. Again, our solid minerals sector is largely untapped and we can exploit those resources through the right policies and supportive legislations.”
He, therefore, called on relevant standing committees to look into the challenges such as insecurity and unemployment, as well as ensure reforms in the petroleum and agricultural sectors of the economy with a view to addressing them through the instrument of legislation.
“The security architecture of our country has not achieved the desired results of providing the needed security to our citizens. Our security agencies need better funding and other resources for better performance.
“As security is a fundamental responsibility of government, no amount of investment is too much. Our security-related committees are therefore challenged to assess and review both the architecture and structure of our security agencies towards improved efficiency.”
Meanwhile, he challenged Ministers and Heads of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to cooperate with the newly inaugurated committees where necessary, so as to deliver on the agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“As we set to start our committee activities, the Senate expects the total cooperation of the executive arm of government. The Senate expects the Honourable Ministers and head of agencies of government to be forthcoming and responsive to the engagement requests of our committees.
“Our committees will undertake regular oversights with a view to ensuring that government programmes and projects are properly executed for the benefit of our citizens.
“As the committees are the engine rooms of the legislature, so are the MDAs to the executive. This is why there is the need for cooperation, consultation, partnership and synergy between the two arms of government.
“The Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) are hereby called upon to harness the opportunity of the existence of the committees in the execution of their mandates. We must have a unity of purpose.”