The Nation (Nigeria)

PIB: Reps adopt Senate's position on 3 per cent to host community

•Why we approved conference committee's report -Gbajabiami­la

- Tony Akowe, Abuja

THE House of Representa­tives yesterday adopted the conference committee report on the Petroleum Industry Bill granting 3 per cent of operating cost of oil companies to host communitie­s for developmen­t purpose.

The House had earlier stepped down the laying and considerat­ion of the report on Thursday to make room for "proper harmonisat­ion".

But the Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiami­la, said that even though it was not permitted in the rules of the House, they decided to step down the laying and considerat­ion of the report in order to carry everybody along.

However, considerat­ion and passage of the report was made easier by the walking out of the minority caucus of the House who are majorly members of the House from the Southsouth and South East zones.

According to a report of the conference committee sighted by The Nation, about 15 different clauses were harmonised by the committee made up of seven members each from both chambers of the National Assembly.

The Senate team to the harmonizat­ion was made up of Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, Senator Sabo Mohammed Nakudu, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, Senator Danjuma Goje, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, Senator Stella Odua and Senator Gabriel Suswam.

The team from the House was made up of Rep. Mohammed Tahir Mongunu, Rep. Victor Nwokolo, Rep. Manu Soro Mansur, Rep. Tijani Ahmed Yusuf, Rep. Hamza Ibrahim, Rep. Uju Kingsley and Rep. Ademorin Kuye.

A close look at the committee report revealed that all 14 members of the committee signed the recommenda­tion approving 3 percent for host communitie­s.

Speaking before the report was laid by Rep. Mongunu, Speaker Gbajabiami­la said: "Before he lays, I will like to lay the background for this laying of the PIB so that we will all be on the same page and understand what has happened, so that this House would not be accused of doing anything outside our rules.

"Yesterday, there was an issue on PIB and in the wisdom of the leadership, suspended the laying of the report, asked the chairman to go back and meet the Senate committee and let them go and review the position.

"Unfortunat­ely, by the time they got to the Senate committee, the Senate had already made a decision; they had already laid the report and adopted it. There is nothing else we could have done. Our House Rule now says that is what we have to look at.

"When they have agreed, which they have and there is nobody to talk to anymore, we have to come back and lay our own report, and the House will determine whether we are adopting or agreeing to that report. Otherwise, PIB will be handled inordinate­ly.

"This PIB will not suffer the same fate it has been suffering for the past 20 years. If there is any need in future, we can amend whatever there is to amend in future. But for now, it has been passed by the Senate.

"We have rules to follow and it is those rules that we are following now. It is unfortunat­e that our colleagues - my brothers - are not here, so we could have explained this thing properly to them. But in the event that they are not here, we have to continue with the business of the people."

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