Senate To Begin Debate On PIB October 20, Suspends Plenary, As MDAs Defend Budget

The Nigerian Senate, on Thursday, assured that debate on the new draft of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly last week, on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

This was announced by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, moments before the upper chamber adjourned plenary, confirming that early debate on the bill is part of plans to avert any delay in consideration. Consequently, the upper chamber has suspended plenary for one month to enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government defend their respective budgets for the year 2021.

Lawan, according to a statement by Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, added that the critical piece of legislation, after the debate on the floor by lawmakers, would then pass for second reading and be referred to the Joint Committees on Petroleum; and Gas for further legislative work.

“For the PIB, we need to get the document to our Joint Committee before we suspend plenary, otherwise, the document will remain unattended to throughout the time that we would be handling the budget; and that means we can only come back to it around November or December, and that would be late.

“Everybody is waiting for the PIB to be attended to, but we will take sufficient time to work on it because it is a very sensitive document.

“Nevertheless, we should take the debate and Second Reading of the PIB by the upper week, Tuesday 20th, 2020, and refer the document to our Joint Committees on Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream); and Gas.

“So, while we are working on the budget, they can keep work on the PIB warm. We are not going to rush on it since we have the budget before us.

“Our Joint Committee must do everything possible for us to have a document or report that we would work with in the Senate and something that Nigerians and investors will be happy with,” the Senate President said.