PIB: Reps kick as Senate adopts 3% fund for host communities

The Senate,  yesterday, passed a harmonised version of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), opting for 3% for host communities.

There was a tie during the Conference Committee meeting and the two leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, both from North West, broke the tie.

The session was on a Bill for an Act to provide legal governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry and the Development of Host Communities.

Attempts by some Niger Delta senators to protest were rebuffed by the senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

With the adoption of the report, the Bill would be transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent into law, after it must have been passed by the House of Representatives.

However, the bill suffered a setback as the Green Chamber suspended the consideration of the report of the conference committee.

The House and the Senate had set up a panel to harmonize the discrepancies in the in the version of the PIB passed by the two chambers, especially as it concerns the equity fund for host communities.

The Green chamber had approved five per cent equity fund for host communities, while the Senate approved three percent for the host communities.

However, the harmonisation panel adopted three percent equity as approved by the Senate.

Shortly before the arrival of the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila’s procession  into the chamber, members of the House from oil producing states became restive.

Chinyere Igwe (PDP-Rivers), Boma Goodhead (PDP-Rivers) and Bede Eke (PDP-Imo) were seen visibly angry and shouting that they were not going to accept the three per cent for host communities.

The trio and other lawmakers insisted that it must be five per cent or nothing.

Sequel to the row, the Speaker and other principal officers walked into the chamber without the usual announcement. The lawmakers were not moved by the entrance of the speaker and other principal officers into the chamber, as they continued shouting “give us our five percent”.

After repeated efforts to come calm the agitated members failed, Gbajabiamila called for an executive session at about 12.13 pm.

When the House resumed plenary about one hour later, the speaker called on the chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee on PIB, Tahir Monguno to lay the conference report.

However, Monguno sought the permission of the House to step down the laying of the report. Consequently, the laying of the report and its eventual consideration was stepped down.

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