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No rift with Reps over PIB, Senate tells Kachikwu

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Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

The Senate has told the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to stop making false claims on the ongoing process of passing the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill by the National Assembly.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, in a statement on Monday, stated that the PIB, which had got to the final stage and was scheduled to be passed before the second anniversary of the 8th Senate, was a private-member bill and did not emanate from the executive.

Abdullahi said, “It is funny to read a report that the minister went to far away Houston to say that there was a disagreement between the Senate and the House of Representatives over the PIB, which had delayed its passage; and that he had been speaking with the House to take the version of the bill being worked on by the Senate. The statement was unfortunate because the minister was only demonstrating lack of knowledge of how a bicameral legislature functions.

“First, one would have expected that such a critical bill aimed at reforming the oil sector, which is the mainstay of the national economy, would be a priority of the minister when he combined the post with that of being the Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. The current National Assembly started work on the bill when it waited for so many months without anything coming from the executive branch.

“…Kachikwu is just jumping into the issue at this point because he knew we will, in the next few weeks, pass the PIB and we think the remarks he made on the issue was an unnecessary diversion aimed at creating needless controversy.”

The Senate’s spokesman noted that as part of its agenda, the upper chamber had decided “long time ago” that after the passage of the 2017 budget, the next major assignment was to pass the PIB and fast-track the passage of the Host Community Bill and the Fiscal Regime Bill, which were related to the reforms in the petroleum sector.

Sabi-Abdullahi advised Kachikwu to refrain from making statements which might give wrong impression to the international community that the legislature and the executive were not on the same page on critical issues affecting the economy.

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