The Senator representing Akwa Ibom North West, Christopher Ekpenyong, at the second day of Public hearing on Petroleum Industry bill (PIB), expressed optimism that the bill will end the lack of investors, which was the sad story of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry in the last 20 years.
The lawmaker in the upper legislative chamber noted this, while speaking with journalists after Tuesday’s public hearing organised by the Senate joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Petroleum Resources (Upstream) and Gas.
Ekpenyong’s optimism followed some fundamental issues that would be addressed in the ongoing legal framework of the bill.
He said the Joint Committee took cognisance of the Honourable of State for Petroleum’s presentation at the commencement of the hearing, where he decried the lack of investors as a result of non-workable laws.
“As we were told on Monday by the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum as well as the Group Managing Director, GMD of NNPC that in the last 20 years international investors have not come, the proposed bill will address these areas.
“So many people are milling around having lackadaisical attitudes because the enabling environment has not been defined by law.
“It is a very good omen to Nigeria that this PIB is being proposed by the executive led by President Muhammad Buhari. It is a bill that will show that his administration has been able to lay a solid foundation for oil industry law.
Ekeyong said the two day public hearing afforded the lawmakers to listen extensively to presentations by stakeholders and interest groups as well as direct operators of the industry, which he maintained would shape lawmakers’ perspective in passing the bill into law.
According to him, the ninth Assembly was set to commence when the report of the Committee was presented to the Senate, adding “we will do our best, the bill will be passed for the good of Nigeria”.
“By the grace of God, the PIB will become an act this year, which is eminent for the development of the oil sector in Nigeria.
He said at a stage the country even forgot about the gas, but expressed delight that now we could see that gas is playing a prominent task in the development of the economy, adding “we need the PIB that will enhance the activities and thereby encourage investors”.