Baring any change of plans, the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be passed into law in two weeks’ time.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila made the disclosure during the lower chamber’s plenary, yesterday.
He also reiterated the commitment of the House of Representatives to pass the Electoral Act Amendment Bill as well as the Supplementary Budget into law.
Gbajabiamila, who read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari, seeking parliamentary approval of the 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill of N895.8billion, disclosed at plenary, yesterday.
He encouraged the House to work together within the time frame to ensure the passage of the three pieces of legislation.
He said, “I will be meeting with the Ad-Hoc Committee on PIB, today by 3 pm to tidy up some things. We need to pass these pieces of legislation before we go on the annual break. Two weeks is a very short time. We must do it all. These are landmark legislations, including the supplementary budget.”
Meanwhile, the Senate will, today, consider the 2021 Supplementary Budget of N895.8billion.
The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, said this in his remarks on a Point of Order raised by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Sen. Jibrin Barau, during plenary, yesterday.
Barau had raised Point of Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, seeking for more time to submit the report on “A Supplementary Bill for an Act to authorise the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation the total sum of N895, 842, 465, 917.
“We were given the mandate to submit the report today (Tuesday).
“I want to inform this distinguished Senate that we have started work on the bill. We discovered that we needed more time because we feel we must meet the minimum standard set out by the rules of this Senate in processing the bill.’’
According to him, the time we expect we will be able to do this is this week, and then get our report submitted next Tuesday.
“I appeal to this distinguished Senate to permit us to submit our report on Tuesday next week.’’
President of the Senate while interjecting said, “chairman, you will not have more than today.
“This is a very straightforward Supplementary Budget request. So, it doesn’t need two weeks working on it. And you remember, we have a line-up of so many important bills to consider in this Senate.
“So, you have today. You lay tomorrow, we receive tomorrow, please. Because I am sure you had the entire weekend from Wednesday, almost six days. That should be enough. These are just two sectors.
“It is not a complicated thing. So, you don’t need up to Tuesday next week. So, you submit tomorrow (Wednesday) please,’’ Lawan said.
It would be recalled that a Supplementary Bill for an Act to authorise the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, the total sum of N895, 842, 465, 917 on June 23, scaled second reading in the Senate.
President Muhammadu Buhari had sent a request for supplementary budget to the upper chamber in a bid to help fight insecurity and purchase vaccines in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Similarly, the Senate will, tomorrow, debate the report of its joint committees on Petroleum (Upstream, Downstream and Gas) on the Petroleum Industry Bill.
The Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, disclosed this, yesterday, after the chairman of the panel, Senator Mohammed Sabo (Jigawa South West) submitted the committees’ report.
Lawan said, “We will be considering the report on Thursday. We have today, tomorrow and Thursday to look at the report so that when we consider the report, we will be doing so on the basis of what we have been able to read from this very important report.”
The Senate President urged the Joint Committee to provide lawmakers with copies of the bill ahead of its consideration to enable them study its content.
“Let me use the opportunity to thank our Joint Committee for working so hard, selflessly and patriotically to produce the report on the Petroleum Industry Bill.
“This report, a copy each, must be made available to each and every senator today, this afternoon.
“I don’t know how the committee would arrange it, but every senator must have a copy today.
“And we would be considering the report on Thursday.
“So, we have today, tomorrow until the beginning of Thursday to look at the report so that when we consider it, we will be doing so on the basis of what we have been able to read from this very important report,” Lawan said.
The bill seeks to establish a framework for the creation of commercially-oriented and profit-driven petroleum entities, to ensure value addition and internationalisation of the petroleum industry, through the creation of efficient and effective governing institutions with clear and separate roles for the petroleum industry.
The bill is the first in a series of long awaited petroleum industry laws designed to reform the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
The PIB, an omnibus law meant to regulate the entire sphere of the industry and repeal all current existing oil and gas legislation, had struggled to see the light of day ins spite of its introduction to the National Assembly over 16 years ago.
Subsequently, the National Assembly decided to break the PIB into a number of different pieces of legislation guiding specific aspects of the industry.
Senate also at plenary considered for first reading, five bills.
The bills are, Recovery of Premises Act 1995 repeal and re-enactment Bill 2021, sponsored by Sen.Odey Stephen (PDP Cross -River); Federal University of Technology Akwa Ibom Establishment Bill, 2021 by Sen. Akpan Bassey (PDP Akwa Ibom); Federal University of Technology Jigawa Establishment Bill, 2021 by Sen.Mohammed Sabo (APC-Jigawa).
Others are, Mortage Institutions and Allied Matters Act Amendment Bill, 2021 by Sen.Ibikunle Amosu (APC-Ogun); and National Research and Innovation Council Establishment Bill, 2021 by Sen.Ibezim Chukwuma (APC-Imo).
We’re Determined To Achieve Rivers Of Our Dreams -Fubara …Tasks Rivers People On Peaceful, Harmonious Relationship
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, says his administration is determined to enthrone an enviable Rivers that satisfies the dreams and aspirations of all residents.
To achieve the feat, Fubara charged all residents to embrace peace, exhibit mutual harmony among themselves and meaningfully contribute their quota to achieve designated developmental activities that will eventually benefit the State.
The governor stated this at the funeral service in honour of late King Theophilus J.T. Princewill, Amachree XI, the Amanyanabo and Natural Ruler of the Kalabari Kingdom, which was held at the King Amachree Square in Buguma Town, Asari Toru Local Government Area, yesterday.
A statement by the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Boniface Onyedi, quoted Fubara as saying, ”We are in a difficult period but just be peaceful. We cannot achieve progress in an environment of violence. We cannot grow our State to the level of our aspirations when there is trouble.”
“We can only advance to our dream State in a peaceful environment. I urge every one of you to be peaceful. Peace is the only instrument that can bring development,”
The governor applauded the level of cooperation seen between the bereaved family and the entire Kalabari people through the various stages of preparations leading to the eventual burial of their late king to the disappointment of those who had predicted crisis.
He urged the Kalabari people to continue to live in peace even after the burial of their late king, adding that nobody in the State should lose hope because his administration is committed not to disappoint, regarding all their expectations.
In his sermon, the intercontinental Youth Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Belemina Obunge, who represented the General Overseer of the Church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, preached on the topic: “Don’t wait until you’re late”, harped on the need for people to seek God fervently, serve him truthfully while also living peaceably with neighbours in their various community.
Senate Leader Faults N9.9trn Recurrent Expenditure In 2024 Budget Proposal
Senate Leader, Bamidele Opeyemi, says the N9.9 trillion recurrent expenditure in the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget proposal is too high, as it constitutes 43 per cent of the budget.
Opeyemi said this at the opening of debate on general principles of the budget at plenary in Abuja, yesterday.
He said that the total fiscal operations of the Federal Government would result in N9.8 trillion deficit, representing 3.88 per cent of estimated GDP, saying that this was above the three per cent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
Opeyemi listed highlights of the budget to include oil price benchmark of 77.96 dollars per barrel and daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels of condensates of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day and exchange rate of N750 to dollar.
He said based on the fiscal assumptions and parameters, total federally-collectible revenue was N16.87 trillion in the budget, while total federally distributable revenue was N11.09 trillion
Opeyemi said total revenue available to fund the 2024 budget was N9.73 trillion, which included revenues from 63 government-owned enterprises, while oil revenue was projected at N1.92 trillion, with non-oil taxes at N2.43 trillion among others.
He said to finance the deficit would result in new borrowings totaling N7.83 trillion in addition to N294.49 billion expected from privatisation.
He said the deficit would also be financed from N1.06 trillion drawn from bilateral, multilateral loans secured for specific development projects programmes.
He, however, said there was a growing concern over continued borrowing, but the administration resorted to it to finance fiscal gaps.
“But let me state here that the debt level of the federal government is still within sustainable limits.
“Very importantly, these loans are used to finance critical development projects and programmes aimed at improving our economic environment and ensuring effective delivery of public services to our people,” he said.
Contributing, Sen.Osita Ngwu (PDP-Enugu)said President Bola Tinubu had fulfilled his promises by capturing food security, poverty allivation in the budget.
He said there was need to ensure a review of Petroleum Industry Act(PIA) to ensure the continuous ramp up of oil production to fund the deficit in the budget.
Senators, who contributed to the debate, commended the President for the budget, saying it was a budget of renewed hope.
NDDC Laments Unpaid N2trn Allocation
The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Sam Ogbuku, on Wednesday, said the interventionist agency is being owed remittances totalling over N2trillion by the Federal Government.
Ogbuku disclosed this when he appeared before the House of Representatives’ Committee on NDDC, chaired by Ibori-Suenu Erhiatake.
According to him, the amount is the accumulation of 15 per cent of the allocation of the nine states that make up the region, due to the commission since 2000.
He noted that in spite of the passage of the agency’s annual budget in 2021, 2022 and 2023; the funds were yet to be remitted.
“I want to raise an important issue. When we talk about funding, the NDDC Act says the monthly allocation from the Federal Government is 15 per cent of the allocation of nine states of the Niger Delta. But I can assure you that since the inception of the NDDC, it has not got that.
“The Federal Government only budgets what it wants to give to the NDDC for that year and they give it that year. If you look at the 15 per cent, we are not getting it. Even with the removal of fuel subsidy and with the increment of state allocation, the NDDC is still where it is. So, these are issues we want you to help us resolve and we have done our calculation that from 2000 to date we can say we are being owed over N2trn from what is supposed to be due NDDC.
“We also came in at a point when the NDDC never had a budget for 2021, 2022 and 2023. These budgets were before the National Assembly and we had to fast-track the passage of those budgets and those budgets were eventually passed in April this year. However, since the budget was passed, it has not been handed over to us up till now. We pray and plead with you to ensure that as fast as possible, you also facilitate the process for us to have the budget because the budget year is already coming to an end,” he said.
In his own contribution, the Chairman of the NDDC Board, Chiedu Ebie, said the board would work together to reposition the commission in the interest of the oil-producing states and Nigeria at large.
Responding, Erhiatake said issues raised by the agency would be addressed in no distant time.
“It is very important we create a platform for synergy in the implementation of these policies and programmes for the general benefit of Nigerians and especially the people of the Niger Delta. I assure you that this committee is willing and ready to partner with you to make sure that the dividends of democracy are brought to the region and the narratives that had been set by the previous board are changed for the better.”
Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has advised officials of the NDDC to be abreast of anti-graft laws so as not to step out of line.
The ICPC Zonal Commissioner for Rivers and Bayelsa states, Mrs. Ekere Usiere, gave the advice during a sensitisation programme organised by the NDDC at its headquarters in Port Harcourt.
A statement on Wednesday by the Director, Corporate Affairs of the NDDC, Pius Ughakpoteni, said Usiere spoke on the topic: “Understanding the Offences and Penalties Under the ICPC Act 2000.”
It also quoted the Head, Legal Department of ICPC in Rivers State, Dr Agada Akogwu, as saying, “Every public servant should take the ICPC Act as a Bible and internalise all its tenets. That is why the NDDC deserves commendation for organising a sensitization programme for its staff.”