President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday alleged that there were forces within and outside the country working to frustrate the consideration and passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
Lawan spoke to journalists in Abuja.
He said, “The PIB is like a demon. That PIB thing, there are people both inside and outside the country, who would work against it, but it is going to take the strength of our patriotism to pass it,” he said.
According to the Senate President, it took the firm resolve of the National Assembly to pass the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Bill in 2019.
He said that the passage of the bill by the legislature caused an increment to the country’s revenue profile from Deep Offshore activities from $216m annually to $2bn.
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Lawan, however, assured Nigerians that the same approach adopted by the National Assembly in ensuring the passage of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Bill would be deployed for the consideration and eventual passage of the PIB.
He said, “In 2019, when we said we would pass the amendment to the Deep Offshore – Production Sharing Contract – people didn’t want it to happen because they stopped it from happening for 20 years.
“We said, we will try. The second day they came and said, if we do this (pass the PSC amendment bill), they would leave this country, because that will be against some interests.
“I replied: for once, allow us do something for our country. And I laughed, you are not going anywhere. The kind of things you do in this country, where else in the world would you be allowed to do it? So, we are going to do this amendment.
“They thought it was a joke. In a week, we finished the amendment. The House was on recess; the day they returned, they concurred.
“Mr. President knew how important that amendment was. He was in London, and that bill was flown to him. He signed it on a Sunday, just to give that amendment the validity that was needed.”
Lawan said the nation’s exit from its current recession by the end of the first quarter of 2021 would be made possible with the return of the country to the January-December budget cycle by the 9th National Assembly.
He also said the extension of the implementation period of the capital component of the 2020 budget till the end of March this year would aid the nation’s speedy economic recovery.