Senate, House to begin debate on PIB next week – Saraki

By The Citizen

The Senate and the House of Representatives will commence debate on 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.

Senate President, Dr.  Bukola Saraki said this in Abuja at a Business Environment Roundtable on the economy hosted by the National Assembly.

He said this has become necessary to gain speed in the consideration and passage of the PIB and to prevent wasting of time, energy and scarce resources that were prevalent in the past.

Saraki said: 'We have said that the present National Assembly would not be business as usual. More importantly is the presence of the Honourable Speaker represented by the Chief Whip of the House at this event. 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 PIB. 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.

On the purpose of the roundtable, he said: 'Our dear President Muhammadu Buhari has laid down for us the vision for a diversified economy away from too much dependence on volatile oil, to ensure  security of our people's lives, block revenue leakages, create employment for our people, expand our people's economic opportunities and close the gap on our infrastructure deficit.

'The National Assembly has in tandem made these the vision, the anchor-point of its legislative agenda but we know that being a mere agenda is not enough, that no mantra or talk can make this happen without commensurate purposeful action.'

He lamented that the nation's business environment is running largely on obsolete laws, weak governance framework and fragmented regulatory structures bogged down by inhibiting practices with very weak accountability mechanisms.

He said the research that led to the business environment report was necessitated by the desire to create a new architecture for businesses to thrive in the country.

He said the special business environment roundtable was meant to 'interrogate the report, validate its conclusions, get the buy-in of key stakeholders including the organised 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.' The Nation