The Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva has absolved the executive arm of government from the delay trailing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), adding that indeed, the timeline for the delivery of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is out of his control.
While pointing at the National Assembly, the minister rationalized that it is a matter of timeline.
“Timeline is always a difficult question because this is something that has to do with the National Assembly,” he told the audience at the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) discourse.
He described the PIB as an omnibus reform legislation, which “combines 16 different Nigerian petroleum laws in a single transparent and coherent document.”
The first version of the PIB was presented to the National Assembly, the country’s bicameral house of legislature, in 2007. It didn’t make it to law. It has returned, fruitlessly, to two National Assemblies after that.
Sylva explained that “For us (in the executive arm of Nigeria’s Federal Government), I would tell you very confidently that we have finished our job. The drafting process is concluded. We have discussed with some relevant industry operators as well.
“At this point what is happening is that the Ministry of Justice was looking at the draft again to ensure that it is not in conflict with the existing laws in the country. And even that process has now been concluded.
“So, we have requested the National Assembly to see if they can re-convene during their recess to accept the PIB. And then after that, frankly, I cannot say how long it is going to stay with the National Assembly.
“I am sure you understand that. But, my understanding from all the consultations we have had with them is that they are going to look at it expeditiously.
“I do not think that it is going to stay for more than (I am just trying to be excessive in my estimation) six months in the National Assembly,” he said.
The discourse with Mr. Sylva, was the third of the series of engagements that NAPE, the largest body of upstream petroleum technical professionals in Africa, has been having with the policy and regulatory heads of the Nigerian Petroleum industry.
By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja