The Presidency has given reasons why President Muhammadu Buhari refused assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill. Recall that the bill was passed by both chambers of the national assembly on March 28, 2018. Speaking to State House correspondents yesterday, senior special assistant, National Assembly ( Senate) to the president, Ita Enang cited constitutional and legal reasons for the president’s refusal to assent to the bill. According to him , it is inappropriate for a an executive bill to be made public unless it has been read on the floor of the legislature, saying clarification had to be made due to attempts to distort facts by some sections of the media .
He clarified that none of the reasons for withholding assent by President Buhari adduced by the media is true. He explained: “By Presidential communication of July 29, 2018 (one month ago) addressed to the Senate and House of Representatives, Mr. president did communicate decline of Assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill 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. “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.
“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.
“ 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,” he stated. LEADERSHIP recalls that the bill seeks to open up the sector to more and better business opportunities, making the sector more transparent and ensure better accountability of revenue derived from oil. The bill also seeks to restructure the Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation, Department for Petroleum Resources and also create new agencies with more responsibilities.
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