We’ll Break PIB Jinx, Ensure Passage- Lawan, Gbajabiamila

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday vowed that the leadership of the ninth National Assembly is poised to break the jinx by passing of Petroleum Industry Bill after several stillbirths.

Investdata News recalls that the PIB, in various shades has gone in and out of the National Assembly since 2007, making the present NASS the four assembly to deliberate on the provisions a bill that have been stalled by intrigues and vested interests. As a result of this interests, the legislators had attempted to pass it in segments, a move that also did not materialize.

Lawan and Gbajabiamila spoke at a meeting of the leadership of the National Assembly with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Silva, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari and other top officials in the nation’s petroleum sector.

The meeting, according to a statement by Ola Awoniyi, Special Adviser (Media) to President of the Senate, was essentially to brief the National Assembly leaders on the focus of the PIB which the Senate President confirmed was forwarded to the Assembly about two weeks ago.

The bill has not been read on the floor of either of the two Chambers of the National Assembly because the federal Lawmakers who are currently on recess will resume session on Tuesday.

According to the Senate President, “it’s either the bill or bills were sponsored by the Executive and not passed by the Legislature bas was the case in 2007, 2011 in the 6th and 7th Assembly.”

Taking the gathering through the history of the all-important bill, he noted that “in the 8th Assembly, the Legislature sponsored the bill, breaking it down to about three, it passed but there was no assent.

“Now the bill is an executive bill coming to the National Assembly. The two chambers promise that we will break that jinx.

“We want to see an oil industry in Nigeria that is properly regulated, an oil industry that not only sustains the investment that we have but attract even more investment, an oil industry that is very competitive.

“So the Ninth Assembly wants to work with you, have a very clear understanding of every provision so that, at the end of the day, we will break that jinx together with you and provide the oil industry a legislation that will make more effective and efficient at the end of the day,” Lawan said.

The Senate President said it was the first meeting between the Petroleum Ministry and other agencies with the leadership of the National Assembly to discuss the essence and focus of the bill.

“We are glad that the bill is now in the National Assembly even though not before the National Assembly.

“I imagine that by tomorrow (Tuesday) when the communication to the House, communication to the Senate will be read, then it will be before the two chambers of the National Assembly,” Lawan said.

Also Speaking, Gbajabiamila expressed confidence that the ninth National Assembly will break the jinx and pass the bill speedily, lamenting that the “the Bill has been long in the making for several years but I believe this is the session in which it will pass.

“We will pass this Bill speedily, however its passage will not sacrifice thoroughness. We will not sacrifice thoroughness on the alter of speed. Speed because it will be in the nation’s best interest.

“In the House of Representatives, we have assembled a crack team of legislators who are versed in the workings of the industry. It is an Ad-hoc Committee drawn from the House Committees on oil, upstream, downstream, local content and gas.

“So there is a crack team that will be working with you as we are all trying to go to the same destination.

“Talking about passing it speedily, unfortunately it is coming at the time when it will be competing with the passage of the budget,” Gbajabiamila said.

The Speaker described the bill as “perhaps the most important piece of legislation that will come out from National Assembly in the lifetime of this government.

“It is a most important piece of legislation because we all know what oil represents in terms of our economy. Everyone has been waiting for the arrival of the PIB.

“That is the legislations that is on the lips of every Nigerian whether he knows anything about petroleum or not. It is the most popular and most common Bill. Everybody talks about PIB because oil represents the life wire of our State. That underscores the importance of this Bill,” Gbajabiamila said.