- PIB: Don’t Bribe National Assembly Members, Saraki Warns IOCs
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has urged the International Oil Companies and members of the Oil Producers Trade Section operating in Nigeria not to induce lawmakers during the consideration and passage of the Fiscal and Host Communities Bills.
The bills are components of the Petroleum Industry Bill now before the National Assembly.
Saraki noted that the leadership of the 8th National Assembly had made it clear to all members involved in the process to live above board.
He called on the leadership of the IOCs/OPTS to report any lawmaker who seeks any personal favour when the process of passing the bills commences this month.
Saraki was quoted to have read the riot act when the leadership of the IOCs/OPTS visited him, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Senate President said, “Let me also use this opportunity to just make some ground rules clear. We, as the 8th National Assembly, I told you at the beginning that the two houses will be on the same position on the remaining bills. I think we have shown that on the first bill (Petroleum Industry Governance Bill) we passed.
“I am confident that for these other bills too, we will do the same. I want to assure you that it is in our own interest and the leadership has made it clear to all the members involved that this must be a transparent process.”
He added, “We are doing it in the interest of the country. The leadership (of the National Assembly) is not going to tolerate any hanky-panky. No favours. No gifts. Nothing must be given to get this work done. And we want to mandate you that if you see any of these, you should be able to bring it to the attention of the leadership.
“All we want to see is a bill that is in the interest of Nigeria and we have read the riot act to all our members that nobody should approach anybody for any interest towards any benefit, and I want to make this very clear.
“This is the position of the leadership on this issue. We must ensure that everything is above board, because this is not just a bill for today, but for future generations. We must make sure that in our time it is done properly.”
Saraki said after the passage of the PIGB by the National Assembly, which is now before President Muhammadu Buhari for assent, the process for the passage of the Fiscal and Host Communities Bills would soon commence.
The plan, he noted, was to pass a petroleum bill that would be a win-win for all stakeholders.
He added, “This is where we are now and this is where it concerns those of you who are operators to see that we can pass a petroleum bill that is a win-win for all. A petroleum bill that will be a win for Nigeria on the revenue side, investment side and jobs creation; and it is also a win for those who are investing in Nigeria. We appreciate that it is a very competitive world out there and we must make Nigeria competitive.
“The only way we can do that is through engagement. We cannot do it by just passing a bill and just putting it at your doorstep, because we are not the ones that will do the investment. So, it has to be a bill that we all believe is in the interest of all those who are involved.”
The leader of the IOCs/OPTS delegation and Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Limited, Mr. Osagie Okunbor, said the visit was essentially to assure the leadership of the National Assembly that the group would make its memorandum on the bills available to the relevant committees of the National Assembly during the public hearing.
He noted that it was important to ensure that the PIB that would be passed would essentially promote investment.
“Our primary concern is that at the end of the day, we both lay the years of uncertainty to rest, but even more importantly, that a bill that is passed eventually is one that we can all be proud of and the one that we can say will encourage investments in all parts of the oil industry,” Okunbor added.