The House of Representatives on Tuesday in Abuja said it was set to commence consideration of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) next week.
Reps Deputy Speaker, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, who presided over Tuesday’s plenary, made this known at the plenary session with the lawmakers.
It would be recalled that the lawmakers had in Nov. 15, 2012 constituted an ad hoc committee on PIB and mandated it to look into the bill and make recommendations toward passing it into law.
The bill aims to provide legal, fiscal and regulatory framework for the development of the country’s oil and gas industry.
Ihedioha said that copies of the report from the House ad hoc committee which was earlier set up to look into the PIB had already been circulated to lawmakers for their perusal.
The Committee Chairman, Rep. Ishaku Bawa, (PDP-Taraba) had in March 2015 submitted the report of his committee’s assignment to the House for consideration.
Bawa’s ad hoc committee had scrutinized 363 sections and annexures of the original bill and made some amendments and recommendations.
It had in the course of the assignment conducted public hearings in all the six geo-political zones of the country to provide opportunities for stakeholders to make their contributions to the bill.
PIB which covers a wide-range of issues seeks to establish a Petroleum Directorate, National Asset Management Company, Petroleum Equalisation Fund, incorporation of National Gas Company and imposition of new tax regime such as Nigeria Carbon Tax.
The committee recommended the removal of Section 191 of the bill, which gives the president discretionary powers to grant petroleum licenses and instead proposed bidding process for the award of licenses.
It also amended Section 174 which recommended the selling through public offers 30 per cent of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) shares at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Also, the committee amended Section 185, which proposed the selling of 49 per cent of Nigerian Gas Company shares at the stock exchange.
It, however, retained three conventional licensing systems, namely petroleum exploration license, petroleum prospecting license and petroleum mining leases in sections 225 and 229.
The committee also retained environmental remediation funds under Section 203, which makes it mandatory for petroleum investors to pay adequate compensation for the remediation of environmental damages.
Under Section 116, the Petroleum Host Community Fund was created to benefit host communities of oil facilities and installations.