Finally, Senate Begin to Debate on PIB Next Week


Omololu Ogunmade

The Senate has scheduled next week for the commencement of debate on Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, otherwise known as PIB, as well as the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The Senate will also commence debate on a bill to amend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act, among 24 other bills slated for debate next week.

According to information obtained by THISDAY on Senate’s Notice Paper for next week, the report of the Senate Committee on INEC will be laid by its Chairman, Senator Abu Kyari, on Tuesday, while the debate on MTEF will take place on Wednesday. During consideration of INEC Committee’s report, the Senate will take a decision on amendments to the law setting up the commission which also guides the activities of the commission.

However, THISDAY learnt that Senate’s major attention would be concentrated on the PIB whose debate had been suspended since April as a result of power struggle between the National Assembly and the presidency.
Tagged: ‘A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Governance and Institutional Framework for the Petroleum Industry and for Other Related Matters, 2016,’ the debate for second reading of the bill will be led by Senator Tayo Alasoadura, Chairman of Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream).

The PIB which had been in the National Assembly for almost a decade has now been broken into different bills with the aim of addressing various aspects of the oil industry and also ensure that aspects of the old laws that are not controversial are quickly passed while other areas that require more consultations are meant to be considered later.

It was learnt that besides the power struggle between the executive and legislature on the bill, senators from the Niger Delta had advocated the suspension of consideration of the bill some months ago because of fears that non-inclusion of host community fund in the first phase of the bill might aggravate the existing tension in the oil producing areas.

Against this background, such senators had resolved to hold a meeting on Monday to deliberate on the return of PIB and how to ensure that the process of passing the bill is not hindered.

On MTEF, debate on the document was suspended last week following a letter written to the executive by the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, demanding that missing information in the document sent to the National Assembly.
THISDAY learnt that the MTEF debate would now resume next week following the provision of the required information by Ministers of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.

Some other bills meant to address the economic crisis confronting the nation had been slated for second reading next week. They include: “A bill for an Act to Repeal the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. The bill is aimed at establishing a foreign exchange market and also to provide for the control, monitoring and supervision of the transactions conducted into the foreign exchange market. It will also consider “A bill to Repeal and Re-enact the Customs Act.”

Also slated for consideration next week are: “A bill to Establish the Public Private Partnership Regulatory Commission,”; “A bill for an Act to provide for a Legal Framework for the Cassava Inclusion Policy of the Federal Government to Encourage Cassava Farming and Other Matters’ and “A bill for an Act to provide for the Establishment of Federal Entrepreneurship Centres at Local Government Area.”

Eight other bills sent to the Senate by the House of Representatives for concurrence have also been slated for consideration next Thursday. Thirteen reports from various committees have also been planned for consideration.