By Bukola Olasanmi
The senate has passed the petroleum industry governance bill (PIGB).
The upper legislative chamber also passed the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism bill 2019, National Research and Innovation Council bill 2019, Stamp Duties act (amendment) bill 2019 and National Agricultural Seed Council bill 2019.
Others are Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (amendment) bill 2019 and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) act 2010 (amendment) bill 2019.
The bills were passed after Ahmad Lawan, senate leader, moved a motion and referred for the committee of the whole for consideration.
Buhari had initially rejected the bills after which the senate set up a technical committee to review the bills.
After the technical committee effected corrections, the senators considered the clauses of each of the bills and passed them on Wednesday.
The president had cited legal, constitutional and drafting issues as reasons for rejecting the bills.
In the case of the PIGB, the president raised “legal and constitutional reasons” as reasons he had withheld assent.
“That the provision of the Bill permitting the Petroleum Regulatory commission to retain as much as 10 percent of the revenue generated unduly increases the funds accruing to the Petroleum Regulatory commission to the detriment of the revenue available to the Federal, States, Federal capital Territory and Local governments in the country,” Ita Enang, Buhari’s legislative aide, had said.
“Expanding the scope of petroleum equalisation fund and some provisions in divergence from this administration’s policy and indeed conflicting provisions on independent petroleum equalisation fund.
“Some legislative drafting concerns which, if assented to in the form presented will create ambiguity and conflict in interpretation.”
The PIGB seeks to establish the Nigerian petroleum regulatory commission as a one-stop regulator that will be responsible for licensing, monitoring, supervising petroleum operations, as well as enforcing industry laws, regulations and standards.
The bills will have to also be passed by the house of representatives before they are sent to Buhari for assent.