The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria National Summit Group (NNSG), Mr Tony Uranta has urged the Senate in the just inaugurated 8th Assembly to make passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) one of its first priorities. It should be recalled that the House of Representatives, on June 5, passed the Petroleum Industry Bill, a few hours to the end of their tenure, on the last legislative day of the 7th National Assembly.
However, the failure of the Senate to give its concurrence made the decision of the House of Representatives of no effect. In a statement issued in Lagos, Uranta who is also the Secretary General of the United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS) called for the swift passage of PIB by the Senate.
“The PIB was introduced to the National Assembly since 2007. It is disheartening that the PIB which sought to establish a legal, fiscal and regulatory framework for the petroleum industry was not given priority passage by the 7th Assembly.
“To sanitise the oil and gas sector and make it equitable and workable, curbing corruption by giving teeth to existing Laws in the petroleum industry, the PIB should no longer be delayed” Uranta said. According to him, there was no justification for past assembled to have failed in passing a bill that would have put an end to the recurring crisis in the nation’s oil and gas sector.
He however urged the Senate to remove the clause in the bill, interpreting host communities to mean the entire nation. “There is no way the entire nation will be host community in the oil and gas sector. Every region has its endowments even in the mining sector. Host communities must be interpreted to be those producing the oil and gas in the country” he said.
The NNSG Scribe also stressed the need for the 8th NASS to help expedite the restructuring of Nigeria using the National Conference recommendations as a template. Commending the Senate over the emergence of Sen Bukola Saraki as the Senate President, Uranta said that the emergence was a good development for the nation’s democracy.
He however urged Saraki to discharge his duties as a representative of the Nigerian People. “Saraki must focus more on bringing about the greater common good, without cheap selfish or partisan gains obscuring his clarity of vision and purity of integrity” he added.