29th September, 2013
The Nigerian Senate says it will resume another round of public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) on 9 October following allegations of exclusion of some key stakeholders.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), among others, had alleged that critical stakeholders were prevented from participating in reforms of the oil sector.
To this effect, four Senate Standing Committees: Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream), Gas and Judiciary, Legal and Human Rights were mandated to conduct the hearing.
A statement issued on Sunday in Abuja by the Chairman of the joint Committee, Sen. Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa) said the decision of the senate to resume the hearing was to ensure that the new oil law was an aggregate of opinions in the oil and gas industry in the country.
Paulker, who is the Chairman of the Petroleum Resources Committee (Upstream), said: “This time around, the joint committee decided to involve all stakeholders in the oil sector.
“We want to do this before the report is presented to the whole Senate for consideration so that at the end of the day when the new law is passed, nobody will complain that they were left out.’’
The bill seeks to create conducive business environment for petroleum operations and to protect health as well as ensure safety of the environment in the course of petroleum operations.
It also seeks to enhance exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources in Nigeria for the benefit of Nigerians.
A two-day public hearing had held on the PIB.
The joint committee is expected to resolve some of the issues in the PIB such as the high tax regime highlighted by the International Oil Companies (OIC’s).
The IOC’s had threatened to leave Nigeria by divesting from the sector because of the new laws.
The Senate President David Mark had, however, charged the joint committee not to entertain “parochial views’’, adding that “Nigeria should be utmost in the minds of the oil and gas players.’’