The increment in the pump price of petrol from N86.50k to N145 by the Federal Government will make members of the two chambers of the National Assembly, to accelerate the process of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, intended to ensure efficiency and sanity in the sector.
A cross section of senators who stated this in telephone conversations with our correspondent in Abuja on Saturday, on and off the record, expressed confidence that since the issue was the most important in the country at the moment, the federal lawmakers would take the PIB issue with all the seriousness it deserves.
The Senate had on Wednesday, April 13, started legislative procedure for the passage of the controversial bill as the document scaled first reading on the floor of the upper chamber.
The bill has been renamed Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill after both chambers of the National Assembly, had harmonised it.
The development marked the third time that the document would pass first reading in the Senate.
However, an attempt to begin formal debate on the bill in the Senate, failed on Tuesday, April 26, following strong opposition mounted by senators mostly from the Southern part of the country.
The senators kicked against the second reading of the PIB, on grounds that the usual procedure where copies of bills meant to be presented for debate on the floor, were always circulated to members ahead of time, was not followed.
Senator Godswill Akpabio had requested that the copies of the bill be circulated to all members to study ahead of the formal debate so that they could study and make useful contributions.
The senators also rejected the suggestion of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the day’s plenary, that the debate be stood down till the following day, hence deliberations on it had been postponed indefinitely.
But the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources ( Upstream) Senator Tayo Alasoadura, who would lead the debate on the bill, told our correspondent that the bill would enjoy accelerate consideration now that everyone in Nigeria was expecting the desired sanity and efficiency in the oil and gas sector.
Also, the Senator representing Oyo South, Adesoji Akanbi, on Saturday expressed confidence that the passage of the PIB will address the current challenges in the sector.
Akanbi, also criticised his fellow lawmakers who are supporting the current industrial action embarked upon by the Nigeria Labour Congress to protest the hike in fuel price.
He said the senators were supposed to educate Nigerians that there was no provision for fuel subsidy in the 2016 budget.