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Hope rises as Senate, House begin debate on PIB next week

– Senate and House of representatives are to begin debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill next week
– The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be paid by their respective chambers next week
– Senate President Bukola Saraki, lamented that the nation’s business environment is running largely on obsolete laws
national assembly

National Assembly

After years of the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the Senate and the House of Representatives will commence debate of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by laying it in their respective chambers next week as a demonstration of the synergy existing between both Chambers of the National Assembly. 
Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the Senate President disclosed this in the National Assembly at a Business Environment Roundtable on the economy.
According to him,  the Senate and House of Representatives had already resolved to do a joint work on the bill.
 
Saraki said this has become necessarily to gain speed in the consideration and passage of the PIB and to prevent dissipation of time, energy and scarce resources that was prevalent in the past.  
“The message from this is that the National Assembly, both Senate and House of Representatives, is working very closely together in the 8th National Assembly and as such some of these processes would not be bogged down in any of the chambers. 
“We are both committed. We have both come out with our agenda and as part of this commitment, you will all see next week, when we lay the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill. You will see that the Bill we are going to lay in the House is the same Bill we are going to lay in the Senate because for the first time, we are committed to work together as one to achieve results,” he said.
Saraki said President Muhammadu Buhari has laid down 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 the economic opportunities and close the gap on our infrastructure deficit. 
 
He lamented that the nation’s business environment is running largely on obsolete laws, weak governance framework.and lamented the harsh economic environment in the country saying that most of the laws regulating the business environment were obsolete.
 
He said that the research that led to the business environment report was necessitated by the desire to create a new architecture for businesses to thrive in Nigeria. 
 
He said that the special business environment roundtable was meant to further “interrogate the report, validate its conclusions, get the buy-in of key stakeholders including the organized private sector, key government agencies, policy makers, regulators, the media, civil society and other stakeholders.
 
“We have gone this route because we believe that if we deliberately involve and continuously engage our people in lawmaking, the edicts and policies we make will be greatly enriched and accepted having been a product of collective consensus,” he said.
However, Hon. Ado Doguwa, the Chief Whip of the House who represented Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, commended the initiative of the roundtable for the support of the private sector to turn around our economic fortunes.
 
He added that the House would support the initiative which he said was in tandem with its legislative agenda and the agenda of the 8th National Assembly to create enabling business environment in the country, boost investors confidence which will in turn create the needed jobs.
“I want to believe that this is a very critical period in this country where the contribution and support of investors and business people is needed to help turn around our economy.
 
“I said it is critical because at this time when our economy is perfectly at a standstill, we really need the contributions of investors and business professionals within and outside the country to help support the economy and make it a better economy for the benefit of all,” he said.
While making contributions at the event, Simon Kenny, the head of Economic Growth, DFID, Nigeria, said that the major economic problem the countyr is facing is due to its reliance on the dwindling oil revenue and the fall in oil price was a good opportunity to diversify its economy resources.
 
Mrs Aisha Abubakar, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment,in her goodwill message  noted that the roundtable was a clear demonstration of the synergy that exists between the National Assembly and the Executive aimed at improving the nation’s business environment in order to grow the economy.
 
She said it has become imperative to identify and correct obsolete laws impeding the doing of business and investments in Nigeria and to correct them just like the 8th National Assembly seeks to do through the roundtable by involving relevant stakeholders. 
 
Professor Paul Idornigie, a commercial law expert, said it is key for the 8th National Assembly to pass 15 identified critical bills that would greatly enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“The public now has a template to judge the success of the 8th National Assembly by how many of the 15 identified bills they will pass before the end of their tenure,” he said. 
 
Mr. Tony Elumelu, the President of Heirs Group and Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), said the roundtable initiated by the National Assembly further demonstrated that the nation’s laws are not perfect and that they needed to be reviewed to bring them up to speed and to enhance doing business and investment in the country. 
 
Elumelu noted that the involvement of the private sector in the project is critical as they represent the engine room for business growth and creation of jobs in any economy.
 
He said the  best results could only be achieved from legislation if citizens are allowed to partake in the formulation and presentation of necessary legislation for passage by the National Assembly as being done by the 8th National Assembly.
 
He added that  it would be a great achievement if the National Assembly can review and the Land Use Act and pass a new law this year, as it would greatly change the economic trajectory of the country. 
 
The roundtable was to provide a framework for the assessment and improvement of legislation and policy affecting businesses in Nigeria and will direct the deliberations at the first NASSBER event.The event was centred on broad areas like major parts of the report which were critically reviewed during the breakout technical sessions include the laws on competition, doing business, roads, rail and maritime infrastructure, public-private partnerships and taxation among others.

 

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