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Reps pass PIB for second reading

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The House of Representatives yesterday passed for second reading the new Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) after debates on the general principles of the proposed legislation.

The bill, for a legislation to provide legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host community and for related matters, seeks to scrap the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

It is seeking to replace them with a new agency to be known as Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDRA) which shall be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of midstream and upstream petroleum operations in the industry.

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The bill proposes establishment of Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission to be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of upstream petroleum operations.

It further seeks commercialisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to become Nigerian National Petroleum Company to be incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act by the minister of petroleum.

Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, in his debate on the PIB, called on the lawmakers to support the passage, saying it was overdue.

“Permit me to take the House down memory lane. This was a bill that began in the 6th National Assembly, unfortunately it has not seen the light of the day. Whatever controversies surrounding it, the bill is now before us. It is my hope that members will look at it”.

Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elemulu said: “I rise to support that this PIB is overdue for passage. The essence is to remove some uncertainties and to institutionalize the ease of doing business.

“If passed, the bill will institutionalise good governance and ease of doing business. It will attract investors fast. Our four refineries are bad, that’s why we import from Niger when we are supposed to be giving to Niger. We should be giving Niger and not us importing from Niger. We need to pass this PIB as soon as possible.”

Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, said if the proposed legislation would address a situation where Nigeria imports petroleum products from Niger Republic because the four local refineries are not functioning, and if the opportunity Nigeria had in the 70s and 80s would come back, it should be passed.

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