Okon Bassey in Uyo
No fewer than 50 Senators weekend gathered in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on a four-day retreat to brain-storm on the problems rocking the petroleum sector of the nation’s economy.
The Senators are meeting at Le-Meridien and Golf Resort, Uyo with participants drawn from the National Assembly Joint Committees on Petroleum Upstream, Downstream as well as Gas.
Speaking at the retreat, the Chairman Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan raised Nigerians’ hope that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be passed into law by the national assembly within the first quarter of this year
Senator Akpan who represents Akwa Ibom North-east senatorial district in the Senate maintained that the PIB would lay a stronger foundation of a greater economic template for the country.
According to him, the Eighth Senate would continue to ensure that the welfare of Nigerians remains paramount in the legislative strides of the lawmakers.
He explained that the retreat in Uyo was timely and in line with the projections of the benefits of the 2017 Budget and urged Nigerians to remain steadfast in the strides of the Senate.
The retreat, he said, is again coming on the heels of recommendations made by the National Assembly Technical Consultant on several challenges facing the oil sector, stressing that the committee was in the state to discuss issues that will focus on effective and institutional governance of the Nigerian petroleum industry.
Furthermore, he said with the retreat all issues that have impeded the passage of the PIB by National Assembly would be resolved to ensure its quick passage into law.
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel who declared the retreat open acknowledged the significance of the gathering, saying the Senators coming together to brainstorm on the numerous challenges confronting the petroleum sector was timely.
Governor Emmanuel, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr. Moses Ekpo expressed concern over the delay in the passage of the PIB by the National Assembly despite the numerous benefits the bill portrays.
According to him, the importance of the Petroleum Industry Bill to the people of Akwa Ibom being the highest oil producer in the country and generality of Nigerians cannot be over-emphasised if passed into law.
The governor tasked the Senators to be painstaking in their deliberations in order to arrive at a proper solution to the problem confronting the petroleum sector.
“We are delighted to host all of you distinguished Senators. I am sure you will find the serene atmosphere of our dear state good to discuss all issues on the petroleum Industry bill to ensure its passage” he stressed.