President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the Senate as early as next week.
According to Reuters, who were quoting 4 sources familiar with the development, the presentation of the bill to the National Assembly, follows its official approval by the president late last week. This is as the National Assembly has already formed teams of members that will work most closely on the individual portions of the bill.
Both chambers of the National Assembly must have to pass the bill after deliberating on it before it can then be passed on to the president for his final signature.
The PIB which is an oil reform bill has been in the works for about 20 years, is key to the repositioning of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry under its post-COVID-19 agenda as the main laws governing oil and gas exploration have not been fully updated since the 1960s due to some contentious issues like taxes, payments to local communities, terms and revenue sharing within Nigeria.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had disclosed that the delay and non-passage of the bill has made international investors to start losing confidence in the country’s oil and gas industry.
While revealing last month that the PIB will be presented to the National Assembly in the next few weeks, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, also said that the executive arm will be requesting the lawmakers to specially reconvene to receive and start deliberations on the bill.
These oil reforms and regulatory certainty became more pressing this year as low oil prices and a shift towards renewable energy made competition for investment from oil majors tougher.
The draft copy of the bill which was prepared by the Petroleum Ministry is a product of series of consultation between the federal government, oil and gas companies and other industry stakeholders.
Excerpts from the bill reported by Reuters include provisions that would streamline and reduce some oil and gas royalties, increase the amount of money companies pay to local communities and for environmental clean-ups alter the dispute resolution process between companies and the government.
It also included measures to push companies to develop gas discoveries and a framework for gas tariffs and delivery. Commercializing gas, particularly for use in local power generation, is a core government priority.
Financial Autonomy: Governors, State Speakers reach agreement
The Governor also said that the final document of the agreement should be ready for implementation by May 2021.
The Governors’ Forum, Conference of Speakers of State Legislature and other governance stakeholders announced that they reached a resolution over the implementation of financial autonomy for State Legislature and Judiciary.
This was disclosed by the Ekiti State Governor and Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, after the meeting, which was held in Abuja on Monday, and presided by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.
What the Governor said
“We are here for legislative and judicial autonomy and Governors; Speakers of State Assemblies and the Judges of the States are on the same page as far as this issue is concerned,” he said.
We just emerged from a meeting with the Solicitor General of the Federation, the representatives of the judiciary and those of the Conference of Speakers and we are all in force; an agreement has been reached.
The issue is about implementation. There has been no objection from governors on judicial and legislative autonomy.
As a matter of fact, it would not have passed if governors were not in support in the first instance. So, that issue has been fully and holistically addressed,” Fayemi said.
The Governor also said that the final document of the agreement should be ready for implementation by May 2021 and urged striking workers to return to offices “because as far as this has gone, we have met with all the parties concerned and the President, through his Chief of Staff, has been monitoring what has been happening.”
What you should know
Nairametrics reported earlier this month that members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) went on strike with the closure of Federal High Courts in different states across the nation. The union said the purpose of the strike was to draw attention to the financial autonomy of Nigeria’s Judiciary.
Finance Minister tasks FG and state governments to control spending
The Minister also denied claims that the FG printed N60 billion as top-up for March FAAC numbers.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has called on Governments on all levels in Nigeria to control spending amid decreasing revenues and urged for prudent government spending. The Minister also denied claims that the Federal Government printed N60 billion as top-up for March FAAC numbers.
The Minister disclosed this in an interview on Monday and warned that the FG was not generating enough revenue to align with its spending habit.
Zainab Ahmed added that the FG would maintain its stance from January 2021 to end total fuel subsidies in Nigeria, and confirmed talks with organised labour on subsidy removal.
“As a nation, the Federal, State and Local governments must review expenditure patterns. We are spending too much and we are not generating enough,” she said.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported last month that the Debt Management Office had announced that Nigeria’s public debt at end of 2020 was N32.915 trillion. The DMO said the sum of the debt included the Debt Stock of the Federal and State Governments, as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
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