Senate adjourns plenary for one month, promises to work on PIB

Africa Press-Nigeria:

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said on Thursday the National Assembly had not suspended work on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

President Muhammadu Buhari transmitted the PIB to the parliament for consideration and subsequent passage last month.

Lawan, who stated this before the Senate adjourned plenary for one month, said the lawmakers would hold a debate on the PIB on October 20.

The Senate adjourned its plenary after President Buhari presented the 2021 Appropriation Bill to the Joint Session of the National Assembly earlier on Thursday.

Lawan said the early debate on the bill is expected to avert any delay in consideration, adding that the decision to suspend plenary for one month was to enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government defend their respective budgets for 2021.

He said: “For the PIB, we need to get the document to our Joint Committee before we suspend plenary, otherwise, the document will remain unattended to throughout the time that we would be handling the budget. This means we can only come back to it around November or December, and that would be late.

“Everybody is waiting for the PIB to be attended to. But we will take sufficient time to work on it because it is a very sensitive document.

“Nevertheless, we should take the debate and Second Reading of the PIB by the upper week, Tuesday, October 20, 2020, and refer the document to our Joint Committees on Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream); and Gas.

“So, while we are working on the budget, they can keep work on the PIB warm. We are not going to rush on it since we have the budget before us.

“Our Joint Committee must do everything possible for us to have a document or report that we would work with in the Senate and something that Nigerians and investors will be happy with.”

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