Nigerian National Assembly has expressed the zeal to pass the Production Sharing Contract bill into law even as a precursor to the determination of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Chairman of the National Assembly, Senator Ahmad Lawan on Monday said it has become absolutely necessary for Nigeria to do so as a country so that “we can generate more revenues from our endowments.”

He spoke while declaring open a public hearing on the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2019, convened jointly by the Senate committees on petroleum (upstream), gas, finance and judiciary.

The Senate President said that the Senate will, in the process of carrying out the amendment, be mindful of the need to maintain a competitive environment for businesses to continue to thrive. He said also that the National Assembly will also ensure that the oil and gas business in Nigeria remain profitable.

The Bill seeks to amend section 5 of the PSC Act to bring the provisions of that section into conformity with the generality of provisions of the Act and into congruence with the intendment and essence of Production Sharing Contracts. “We want to attract more investments and therefore it is absolutely necessary that we engage in a process that we produce a win-win situation” for Nigeria and the business concerns in the oil and gas industry.

Introduced first in 2007, the PIB was eventually passed by the 8th Senate, but President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to the bill, claiming among others, the PIB whittled down the powers of the petroleum minister, an office the President himself is holding.

Lawan promised that the current National assembly intends to revisit the Bill and adopt a different approach this time to make the passage a reality. “We want to see a situation where the Legislature and the executive work very closely to have a PIB that will attract investment into the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

“An investment climate that will be competitive; we know we have other countries who have this product, and therefore we have to be competitive, we have to have an environment where the businesses make profit.

“This is a journey that involves everyone.  We want both governments – and that includes the legislature and executive on one hand and IOCs (International Oil Companies) to work together to ensure that this environment we are trying to create is an environment that will work for all of us,” Lawan said.

Chibisi Ohakah

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