The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has expressed determination to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) within six months.
Mr Gbajabiamila said this when he played host to a delegation of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) under the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr Gbajabiamila said the House would ensure that it passed a PIB that would be satisfactory to all, stating that there were two things that the House would do.
“First, the House is determined to pass the bill within the next six months, or probably less, because the clock has already started running from the time it was presented,” he said.
“Two, the House is determined to pass a PIB that is satisfactory to all, I know it is difficult to satisfy everybody, but we will try our best to satisfy everybody.”
Mr Gbajabiamila also said that the House would ensure that it carried all stakeholders along in working on the draft legislation until its passage.
He urged members of the OPTS led by their chairperson, Mike Sangster, to avail themselves of the opportunity to reach out to the House ad hoc committee on PIB to make their inputs.
He expressed concern that the PIB in its present form would not make the Nigerian oil and gas industry competitive globally.
He stated that the PIB had been long coming because of the various interests, adding that it was difficult to pass a bill that addressed the interests of everyone as the PIB would involve local content.
According to him, I am very concerned about what you said, that the PIB as it is does not allow Nigeria to compete favourably in the global market, we are not competitive, yet there is the presence of oil majors here.
He said “We need to look at it, but I think it will be difficult to tell members that we should go back to the old arrangement that we had.
Earlier, Sangster had raised concern over the present form of the PIB, which he said if passed the way it is, it would negatively affect Nigeria’s competitiveness in the global market.
He noted that in the past, the African continent attracted about $70 billion of investment in the oil and gas industry but that only about $3billion came to Nigeria in spite of being a major player continentally.
He said that the petroleum industry had the capacity to create thousands of jobs in the next 10 years. He encouraged the House to reach out to other sources to have a better analysis of the PIB.