Speaker of House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila says the lawmakers plan to pass Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by April.
Gbajabiamila made the announcement while speaking at a public hearing on the Bill, organised by the House ad hoc Committee on PIB on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that the oil industry had been performing below expectations due to the absence of national legislation.
According to him, it is disappointing and frankly difficult to explain how successive governments have failed to deliver on the reform.
“This public hearing allows all stakeholders to contribute to the Bill for an Act to provide legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, the development of host communities, and for related matters.
“It is an opportunity for all of us to collaborate to improve this Bill, so when it becomes law, it will serve the best interests of all our people.
“The process of engaging with stakeholders will continue beyond this public hearing to accommodate the diversity of interests and ensure all critical views form part of the deliberations that inform the final legislation.
“We must first make sure our oil and gas industry is more productive, more efficient and more profitable at a time of declining global profitability,” he said.
Gbajabiamila explained that the PIB, when passed would address peculiar and localised concerns in ways that will allow the oil and gas industry to compete more effectively globally.
He said that Nigeria would borrow from what had worked for other countries and implement uniquely to suit the current needs locally.
The lawmaker said that the PIB was a necessary step towards reorganising the sector to respond to the new global reality of decreasing demand and the diminished profitability of fossil fuels.
“Our assignment here is first to ensure Nigeria’s oil and gas industry operates optimally for the benefit of all Nigerians.
“Then we must see to it that the industry generates the resources we need to prepare Nigeria for a future when fossil fuels are worth even less than they are now.
“Other countries have woken to the challenges of the new dynamics in the international market for crude oil and natural gas.
“Some have begun to adapt to these new realities, whilst others have already done so; So my charge to everyone that will be participating is not to close our minds or our ears to the views and the positions that may be advanced by various interest groups.
“We are in a world, an economic world, so there must be interest groups, they will be interest groups and we cannot deny that.
“But what should guide the outcome of what we do here as we accommodate more views will be what will be in the best interest of the people,” he said.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Silva expressed happiness that the Bill was about to be passed after 20 years of its introduction.
He said that both chambers of the National Assemble have shown sustained determination to pass the Bill.
Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari said that crude oil would still be relevant in the world in the next 30 years.
He said that the passage of the Bill would ensure the needed vigour and transparency that would in turn engender productivity in the petroleum industry.