Wike cautions against hasty passage of PIB, Okowa seeks FG’s intervention
•’PIGB to be ready first quarter of 2018’
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has cautioned against hasty passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly to avoid crisis. Wike gave the advice at the Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday during an interactive session with members of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill. “If you rush the passage of this bill, you will create crisis. With the experience of the chairman of this committee, I believe the committee will do an excellent job.”
The governor urged the committee to tackle critical issues in the bill comprehensively to avoid further crisis when the House passes it. He said the PIB, when passed and diligently implemented, would resolve majority of the development and environmental challenges facing oil-producing communities. To Wike, the controversial PIB has attracted attention because it has to do with oil-bearing communities. He said the communities had suffered untold hardship which must be addressed holistically.
Chairman of the committee, Alhassan Doguwa, said in order to avoid the mistakes of the past, the House was working with the senate to ensure early passage of the bill, which has been divided into components for easy passage and administration.Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, urged the Federal Government to ensure quick passage of the PIB.
He made the call yesterday in Asaba at a stakeholders’ meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.“Where do we stand with the PIB? It is something you have to put the president in the know because, if that bill is not passed next year, the National Assembly will have to start afresh, the whole process,” Okowa said.
The governor who said the PIB would address most of the issues affecting the oil industry, commended Kachikwu for directly engaging the stakeholders. “There is the need for constant interface between the oil companies and the communities, we need to consolidate on the peace we have now. There should be sincerity and openness in our dealings.”
According to Okowa, oil companies have no reason not to have operational offices in their areas of operation. He urged the Federal Government to ensure relocation of oil firms’ headquarters to their areas of operations.
Kachikwu said a Memorandum of Understanding to take care of issues discussed would be prepared and implemented.Meanwhile, the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Upstream, Gershom Bassey, has said the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), a fragment of the PIB, will be ready by first quarter of 2018.
The lawmaker disclosed this yesterday in Lagos at the 35th National Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) conference and exhibition. He said the bill which is with the House of Representatives would get to President Muhammadu Buhari’s table in January next year.
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