By Babajide Okeowo
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has disclosed that some powerful elements are poised to work against the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). He, however, reiterated the resolve of the Senate to pass the much-awaited bill.
Lawan dropped this shocking revelation while addressing Senate Correspondents at a forum to mark his 62nd birthday in Abuja on Tuesday.
“There are people both within and outside the country who will work against it but it is going to take the strength of our patriotism to pass it,” Lawan said.
He said that the Senate would on resumption from the Christmas break on Jan. 26, consider the bill for passage. According to him, the PIB is important legislation that will be given the necessary attention to our resumption.
“By the grace of God when we resume, we will start work on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB); that is going to be one legislation that not only Nigeria but the entire world is waiting for because that will change our economy.
Money will start flowing so we want you to be on that journey with us so that you too when the history of PIB passage and assent will be written, your names will be reflected.
We promised Nigerians that we are going to achieve that by the grace of God in the year 2021,’’ the Senate president said.
He further stated that the PIB would be given the same speed accorded the Deep Offshore Production Sharing Contract bill.
“When in 2019, we said we will pass the amendment to the Deep Offshore Production Sharing Contract in this house, we spent nights and days working on the bill.
We close by 2 a.m., 3 a.m., just working to amend that act, people didn’t want it to happen because it stopped what has been happening for 20 years.
In a week, they thought it was a joke. In a week we finished the amendment because the house was on recess, the day they returned, they concurred.
Mr. President knew how important that amendment was. He was in London and that bill was flown to him and he signed on a Sunday just to give that amendment the validity that was needed,” he said.
Lawan added: “We lost billions of naira because we were supposed to be given 2 billion dollars every year in the last 20 years; they were giving us 216 million dollars.
But from last year, after the amendment, it is now 2 billion dollars. “That is what we intend to do with the PIB, we will pass the PIB that will ensure that businesses here get a very competitive environment, that people can make a profit and stay and even invest more.
It is necessary and incumbent on all of us leaders, to apply ourselves fully to address the various challenges facing Nigerians.”
He noted the need for leaders in the country to surmount the challenges, saying that there should be no excuses in finding solutions to the problems.
“It is not easy. And sometimes, when you are outside the system, you think two plus two is four. Until you get in then you will discover it’s beyond that arithmetic, but, there should be no excuses,” he said.