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BREAKING: After 20 Years Of Foot-Dragging, Lawmakers Finally Pass The PIB Bill

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The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Petroleum Industry Bill.

Members unanimously passed the 319 clauses of the report of the bill to make history.

The PIB had spent about 20 years at the National Assembly, failing to be passed by previous assemblies before the House passed it on Thursday.

By Thursday’s development, the third reading of the bill will be a mere formality soon to be done by the House.

Reacting to the action of the House, the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, described it as a “landmark achievement.”

The speaker commended the 74 members of the PIB committee and the entire House for a job well done.

He said, “I want to use this opportunity to underscore the point made by Hon. Monguno. It is to underscore how big what this House has just done today is. It has been 20 years in coming.

“I want to commend the 74 Wisemen, who produced this piece of legislation and who have become the voices of all 360 members.

“This 9th Assembly will be recorded on the right side of history.”

The speaker used the opportunity to restate that even the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill would be passed in the next few days.

Giving a synopsis of the report earlier, the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee on PIP, Rep. Mohammed Monguno, recalled how the bill suffered “several postponements at the National Assembly.”

He spoke further, “This bill is about our economy and it beholds on us members of 9th House so that our names will be written in gold.”

Monguno gave the highlights of the PIB, one of which is the provision of a Governance Structure for the petroleum and gas industry in Nigeria.

He explained that this would mean the unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to “Metamorphose to NNPC Limited to be run as a commercial entity.”

Monguno also said the bill created a Commission to oversee the operation of the industry by ensuring transparency of all transactions.

He added that another provision of the bill is the creation of a Host Community Fund to take care of the interests of oil-bearing communities.

A frontier exploration agency is also established in the PIB to continue with oil exploration activities in other parts of the country.

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[OPINION] In Gas-Rich Nigeria, Many Can’t Afford Cooking Gas

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Nigeria has the largest natural gas reserves in Africa, but cooking gas, technically called Liquefied Petroleum Gas, remains a luxury for millions of people in the country.

The country is so rich in gas that some industry stakeholders have likened it to an island of oil sitting on an ocean of gas.

The total gas reserves in the country rose to 206.53 trillion cubic feet as of January 2021 from 203.16tcf a year earlier, according to the Department of Petroleum Resources.

Home to the ninth-biggest gas reserves in the world, Nigeria was the eight-largest exporter of natural gas globally last year, according to Statista.

But today, at least 50 per cent of the cooking gas consumed in the country is IMPORTED, and the price of the fuel has skyrocketed to its highest level on record.

In recent years, many households have had to embrace the use of cooking gas largely because of increased awareness of its benefits and the scarcity of kerosene, a dirty cooking fuel that is harmful to human health.

But the months-long steady increase in the price of cooking gas is now putting the essential commodity beyond the reach of many households.

The price has more than doubled in the past one year, from about N3,200 for refilling a 12.5kg cylinder in September last year to N6,500-N7,000 now.

With the naira plunging to fresh all-time lows in recent days, there appears to be no end in in sight to the increase in cooking gas prices.

The naira sank to 570 against the dollar today at the parallel market from 562/$1 on Wednesday and 528/$1 at the start of this month.

If LPG importers have to source forex at the black market, it means the further depreciation of the naira against the dollar will push up the cost of importing the product into the country, and retail prices will rise further.

Something needs to be done urgently to tackle the shortage of cooking gas supply and the price hike so as to reduce the plight of many Nigerians.

Femi Asu

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NLC Strike Looms Over Plans To Hike Electricity Tariff

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday said if the Federal Government goes ahead and increase electricity tariff that the organised Labour would have no option but to embark on an industrial action.

In a statement he personally signed, the president of the union, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, described the reported proposed hike in electricity tariff as mere speculation.

He pointed out that the organised labour would deploy industrial mechanisms granted in the laws of the land for the defence of workers’ rights.

In a statement entitled, ‘Notice on speculations on increase in electricity tariff,’ Wabba reminded the minister that the organised labour, on September 28, 2020, agreed with the Federal Government to freeze further increases in electricity tariff until the committee concludes its work and its report adopted by all the principals in the committee.

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[BREAKING] President Buhari Signs Petroleum Industry Bill Into Law

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President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021 into law.

Working from home in five days quarantine as required by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 after returning from London on Friday August 13, the President assented to the Bill Monday August 16, in his determination to fulfill his constitutional duty.

The ceremonial part of the new legislation will be done on Wednesday, after the days of mandatory isolation would have been fulfilled.

The Petroleum Industry Act provides legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host communities, and related matters.

The Senate had passed the Bill on July 15, 2021, while the House of Representatives did same on July 16, thus ending a long wait since early 2000s, and notching another high for the Buhari administration.


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