A member of the National Assembly, Sen. Yusuf Yusuf, has called for replacement of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) with Extractive Industry Bill (EIB) in line with economic diversification focus the Federal Government.
Yusuf, who, represents Taraba Central Senatorial District at the Senate, made the call in an interview with newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the consideration of EIB would bring an end to the controversies surrounding PIB, explaining that EIB would be more inclusive as it would consider petroleum and other mineral deposits.
The idea of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) began in 2007 following recommendations of a Presidential Committee set up to carry out oil and gas sector reforms in Nigeria.
The Bill is intended to strengthen the capacity of indigenous companies in the oil and gas sector as well as reduce exploitation in the industry.
The passage of the bill has however lingered over the years following alleged controversies with regard to “Petroleum Host Communities Fund’’ and other issues.
Yusuf urged the National Assembly to consider liaising with relevant stakeholders, including the Executive, to come up with EIB rather than “debating and passing the proposed new PIB’’.
“Let us change from PIB to Extractive Industry Bill because every part of this country has an extractive industry.
“If we do that, all host communities with extractive industries will benefit and it will just solve our problem once and for all. Today, petroleum is not as important as it used to be, not that it will not be important again.
“We have gold somewhere, we have diamond somewhere, we have sapphire somewhere, we have other solid minerals; they are all extractive and we have gas somewhere.
“Instead of Petroleum Industry Bill, give us Extractive Industry Bill, which petroleum is part of,’’ he said.
The lawmaker promised to present a proposal to that effect upon resumption of plenary.
On lasting solution to fuel scarcity in the country, he called for deregulation of the petroleum sector.
He expressed concern that the Federal Government announced removal of fuel subsidy without recourse to deregulation.
“I support subsidy removal because subsidy is not taking us anywhere, but if we are removing subsidy we should be ready to deregulate.
“We cannot remove subsidy without deregulating. If subsidy is removed and petroleum industry is deregulated, marketers will import and sell with their own profit margin,’’ he said.
Yusuf, however, called on Nigerians to work with the present administration in actualizing the dividends of democracy in spite of the prevailing difficulties.