The Federal Government has stated if the National Assembly sustains the current pace of work on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the passage of the new law for the country’s oil and gas industry may not linger beyond the first quarter of 2021.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva said this while giving an update on the status of the PIB currently undergoing legislative processes in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
He disclosed that the government was happy with the pace of work by the legislators on the document.
The passage of the PIB, which has lingered for newly 20 years and survived at least two legislative cycles, appears to have received acceleration in recent times under the present administration that has described the document as key to attracting growth and development in the country’s petroleum industry.
“The PIB is out of the executive’s hand right now. We completed our own part by drafting the Bill. It is currently with the National Assembly. The process has already passed the second reading in the Senate. They have sent the draft to the relevant Committees for consideration.
“The House of Representatives would take up from there and look at it next week. We are expecting that both Chambers would go through the committee stages by the first quarter of next year and pass it into law.
“I am not saying categorically and conclusively that the PIB will be passed then. But, what I am saying is that from the pace of work we can see the National Assembly working so far, everything being equal, we are projecting that the PIB will be passed latest by the first quarter of 2021,” he said.
Sylva said everything depends on the pace of the legislative process by the National Assembly, noting that if the two chambers of the National Assembly could pass second readings and hold public hearings, there is high optimism that it could be passed within the first quarter of next year.
He said the government has been engaging the leadership of the National Assembly on the matter, adding that the outcome of that engagement was very encouraging.
The lawmakers, Mr Sylva said, are quite committed to see the law passed as soon as possible, adding that there exists a national consensus that this is the best time to pass the PIB into law.