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Mark promises quick passage of PIB

News » Business

A quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill  (PIB) is in the offing, as Senate President, David Mark assured yesterday that the bill would be given speedy passage by the National Assembly, as soon as it was received from the Presidency.
The PIB was submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan last week Friday, by minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, with a promise that it would be sent to the lawmakers within 14 days.

The purpose of the Petroleum Industry Bill is to enhance transparency in the country’s oil and gas sector, as well as reduce government interference in the operations of the industry regulator, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It is also aimed at attracting investors and creating jobs for teeming Nigerians.

David Mark, who delivered the keynote address at the National Assembly and Private Sector Partnership Forum, organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)  in Lagos,  said the “National Assembly will pass the PIB bill into law as soon as Mr. President returns it to the House”.

Mark also told the gathering comprising chieftains of industry and commerce and the organised private sector, that it was not possible to pass bills with immediate effect in a democracy.
According to him, “In the military, if I say go right, you must go right. This is the culture of the military which we have stripped ourselves of.

“Bill passing must go through a process. It must go through the process of first reading and second reading. There is no jumping of stages. Everybody’s views must be heard. This is why it must also be subjected to public hearing “, he added.
The Senate President however regretted that Nigerians do not participate in public hearing.

“We cannot rush a bill. If we do, we will be doing it the military way. We are coming from the background of ‘it takes immediate effect’ which over time, we have left behind us. And people still want us to act that way. We cannot pass bills with immediate effect in a democracy,” he said.

David Mark noted that the executive arm of government and the business community have been relating well   over the years “and it continues to improve”. He added that the situation was not exactly the same with the Legislature, and that this was understandable, because of the long legacy of  military rule in the country.

The Senate President said :“We have only just started to rebuild the full complements of democratic structures, and it will take some time for the various constituents in the polity to appreciate the value that each democratic institution offers.”

He recalled that four years into the return to democratic rule, legislators started removing their leaders, apparently referring to the musical chair change of leadership in the Senate and House of Representatives. “Things are changing now. We are now devoting time to business and not removing leaders,” he said.

John Odeyemi, ex- president, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCC) and the National Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines  and Agriculture (NACCIMA), raised the issue of abandoned  projects  and cited in particular, the East-West Road  which  he said  had been abandoned for the last eight years, and was thus costing more money now  to build.

Goodie Ibru, president of the LCCI said the Chamber would like to see an upward swing in the passage of legislation in the National Assembly, especially legislation aimed improving the business environment.

Article credit: Businessday Newspaper

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Updated 7 Years ago

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