Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) controversy surrounding the alleged withholding of assent to the bill already passed by the National Assembly a few months ago, for the bill to become law in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry has been given a clarification by the Presidency.
The Presidency through a statement released by Senator Ita Enang who is the Assistant, Presidential liaison to the National Assembly-Senate, a few minutes ago, stated that the President wrote the National Assembly on the reasons behind withholding assent to the PIGB and such reasons were clearly stated in a letter he wrote to the two houses just last month, which was in July, 2018.
He said all the claims by some members of the National Assembly accusing President Buhari of not signing the PIGB, are uncalled for, as though the bill has been passed, the Presidency having gone through it, discovered some anomalies, which if signed, will not be in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians as resource owners.
He said all these have been rightfully communicated to the National Assembly and although it will not be proper for him to be discussing such a document, but for the avoidance of doubt and for the interest of the public, he is revisiting the letter.
He said those areas where the Presidency have discovered such anomalies in the passed PIGB will be sent back to the National Assembly for a further review.
Senator Ita Enang while making the statement, made reference to the July 29th, 2018 addressed to the two Houses of Assembly, saying:
By Presidential communication of July 29, 2018 (one month ago) addressed to the Senate and House of Representatives, Mr. the president did communicate decline of Assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), 2018 for constitutional and legal reasons stated therein.
By convention, it is inappropriate to speak on the content of Executive communication addressed to the Legislature until same has been read on the floor in plenary. But i plead for the understanding of the legislature that due to the misrepresentations in the public domain and apparent deliberate blackmail which if not promptly addressed may set both the executive and the legislature against the public and even the international investment community, this be excused.
None of the reasons for withholding Assent by Mr. President adduced by the media is true.
In deference to the National Assembly, I please state very limited of the rationale communicated to the legislature, to wit:
a) That the provision of the Bill permitting the Petroleum Regulatory Commission to retain as much as 10% of the revenue generated unduly increases the funds accruing to the Petroleum Regulatory Commission to the detriment of the revenue available to the Federal, States, Federal Capital Territory and Local governments in the country.
b) Expanding the scope of Petroleum equalisation fund and some provisions in divergence from this administration’s policy and indeed conflicting provisions on independent petroleum equalisation fund.
c) Some legislative drafting concerns which, if Assented to in the form presented will create ambiguity and conflict in interpretation. Other issues therein contained.
May this please answer some of the issues raised until the
communication is read on the floor.