Buhari Transmits PIB to Senate, Seeks Approval to Refund N148.1bn to 5 States for Executed Road Projects

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By Deji Elumoye

President Muhammadu Buhari has transmitted the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the Senate for approval.

He is also seeking the approval of the upper legislative chamber for the refund of N148.1 billion to five states for the execution of federal roads in those states.

The two request letters from the President were read on Tuesday at the resumption of plenary by President of the Senate Dr Ahmad Lawan.

In the letter dated September 2, 2020, President Buhari in seeking for the passage of the PIB said:

“Pursuant to Section 58 of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 constitution as amended, I formally request the consideration and passage into law by the Senate the Petroleum Industry Bill 2020. In particular, the Senate may wish to note that this bill combines in a single tone, aspects of significant reforms to the laws governing the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, that were previously set out in two distinct draft legislation namely the Petroleum Industry Bill 2020 and the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill, 2020. While I trust that the Senate will in their usual expeditious manner favourably consider the passage of this bill Into law please accept Mr Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

In another letter dated August 13, 2020, the President sought the approval of the Senate to reimburse five states with the sum of N148.14 billion for road projects executed on behalf of the federal government.

The five states are; Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers.

While Rivers is getting the sum of N78 billion as reimbursement from the federal government, Bayelsa would get the sum of N38 billion, Cross River N18 billion, Ondo N7 billion and Osun N4.567bn.

The letter read in part, ”The Senate may wish to be informed that the federal government executive council (FEC) at the meeting of June 3, 2020 approved the reimbursement of N148,141,969,161.24 through the issuance of promissory notes to the Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers state governments for Federal Road Projects executed by the States. The extract from the meeting referenced EC 11(2020)4 is attached as Appendix 1.

”The approval by FEC was subsequent to the recommendation of an inter ministerial committee which reviewed the requests for the reimbursement made by the state governments for the projects. The Committee reviewed the documents submitted and carried out physical inspection and verification of the projects in the respective states before making its recommendation to FEC. The summary of the amounts approved for each of the five states as stated.”

”In the view of the foregoing, I wish to request the Senate to kindly approve through its resolution, the request of reimbursement of the total sum of N148,141,969,161.24 the issuance of promissory notes to the five aforementioned states governments for the federal roads projects. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning shall provide any information that may be required by National Assembly in its consideration of this request. While looking forward to the expeditious consideration and approval of the Senate, please accept, Mr Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration”.

The two letters of request is expected to be referred to relevant committees at plenary on Wednesday.