The National Assembly has fixed October 20, 2020 as date to commence the debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill. This was disclosed by the Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan during Plenary on Thursday.
The Senate President noted that; “In line with our resolve to break the jinx on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly last week, we have fixed Tuesday, October 20, 2020, as the date for the commencement of debate on the Bill.
“Accordingly, I informed my colleagues to prepare for this task so as to avert any delay in consideration, resulting from our decision to suspend plenary for one month to enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government defend their respective budgets for the year 2021.
“The critical piece of legislation, after the debate on the floor by lawmakers, would then pass for second reading and be referred to the Joint Committees on Petroleum; and Gas for further legislative work.”
Senator Lawan further said; “We want to get the document to our Joint Committee before we suspend plenary, otherwise, the document will remain unattended to throughout the time that we would be handling the budget; and that means we can only come back to it around November or December, and that would be late
“It is obvious that everybody is waiting for the PIB to be attended to, but while we are going to do our best to deliver on this expectation, we will take sufficient time to work on it because it is a very sensitive document.
“If we are able to take the debate, pass the PIB for second reading and refer the document to our Joint Committees on Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream); and Gas, the committee can keep work on the PIB warm, while we are working on the budget.
“Our Joint Committee must do everything possible for us to have a document or report that we would work with in the Senate and something that Nigerians and investors will be happy with.”