National Assembly to present harmonised PIB next week

Senate President, Bukola Saraki

Senate President, Bukola Saraki

DFID seeks urgent diversification economy

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, yesterday said that a harmonised version of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be laid before each chamber of the National Assembly ‎next week.

According to him, the Senate and House of Representatives have resolved to do a joint work on the Bill.

Speaking at the ongoing National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable which commenced at the Senate yesterday, Saraki said:

“The National Assembly, the Senate and the House of Representatives, are working very closely together. As part of this commitment, we would all see next week when we lay down the Petroleum Industry Bill; you will see that the bill we are going to lay in each House is the same. We are going to lay the same version in the Senate and the House of Representatives because that is going to be the first time we are open to our words.‎”

It was learnt that the new version of the PIB is being sponsored by the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly.

The Senate President lamented the harsh economic environment in the country, pointing out that most of the laws regulating the business environment were obsolete.

On the purpose of the roundtable, he said: “Our dear President Muhammadu Buhari has laid down for us the vision for a diversified economy away from too much dependence on the volatile oil, to ensure security of our people’s lives, block revenue leakages, create employment for our people, expand our people’s economic opportunities and close the gap on our infrastructure deficit.

“The National Assembly has in tandem made these the vision, the anchor-point of its legislative agenda, but we know that being a mere agenda is not enough, that no mantra or talk can make this happen without commensurate purposeful action.”

Contributing to discussions at the event, the Head of Economic Growth of the Department For International Development (DFID) in Nigeria, Simon Kenny, declared that a major economic problem facing Nigeria was its over-reliance on the already dwindling oil revenue.

Kenny said: “‎If you look at the demands of oil produced in Nigeria and the low price of oil, and if you divide that by the vast numbers of people and population of Nigeria, there is only around $200 of oil per capital per year in the country. There is no way even the rising price of oil can raise Nigeria to anything above a middle-income country. And I know that the aspirations of Nigeria have gone beyond that to become a high-level income country. So, oil revenue has dropped and this is the reality you are facing at the moment. But the low prices of oil has offered a perfect opportunity for Nigeria to diversify the economy, to increase investment and to make industries – from agriculture to manufacturing and the services sector.”

The Chairman, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu, in a speech, stressed the urgent need for the National Assembly to review the laws that regulate the conduct of businesses in the country.

He said: “This meeting is an effort and is humble acknowledgement by our leaders that our laws are not perfect; that we need to review, amend and enhance many of them.

“The important role of government is not to provide employment for everyone but to create, sustain and secure an enabling environment for citizens to create their own jobs as their success using their own talents. The private sector is the engine room for economic growth in Nigeria and indeed anywhere else.”

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