By Ebitonye Akpodigha
The Senate on Wednesday deliberated on the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and it eventually scaled through the second reading.
The bill aims to be the master reference law that governs the Nigerian petroleum industry, from the upstream division (exploratory, development and production activities) through the midstream (gas processing) to downstream (servicing, refining, distribution, transportation and marketing/retailing).
It is a bill that has lingered on since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999.
At the plenary today, members of the upper chamber of the National Assembly looked into the bill and argued over it.
It eventually passed its second reading, which is first in line of four steps expected to provide comprehensive package of legislations which is meant to form the bases for the expected reform of the petroleum industry in Nigeria.
Speaking after passing the bill, Senate President, Mr Bukola Saraki, noted that the PIB will “ensure we improve enabling environment for petroleum industry as a country and send a strong message to players in the industry and investors that we plan to pass PIB and strengthen the industry.”
Business Post learns the bill seeks to create a conducive business environment for petroleum operations, enhance exploitation and exploration of petroleum resources in Nigeria for the benefit of Nigerians, optimize domestic gas supplies, especially for power generation and industrial development, encourage investment in Nigerian petroleum industry, improve government revenue, establish profit-driven oil entities, deregulate and liberalize the downstream petroleum sector among others.
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