Senate won’t consider any anti-media agenda, says Saraki
Assures imminent passage of PIB
President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, affirmed in Lagos late Tuesday evening that potential press muzzling agenda would not be tabled for consideration by the lawmakers.
Besides, Saraki, who spoke at the Lagos Business School’s end of year dinner, assured that the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would soon be passed into law, to promote the fortunes of the oil sector.
Others, according to him, currently topping the National Assembly’s priority list include the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Repeal Bill, Road and Transport Reform bills and the Ports and Harbour bills.
On the controversial bill on social media, the Senate President explained that what had been presented to the Upper House was the bill to prohibit frivolous petitions and other matters, saying that when it comes up for debate, any aspect that targets the social media would be expunged at the appropriate time, as consideration for it would undermine democratic principles.
Be rest assured that the Senate will do the right thing. There was no anti-social media bill brought forward to the National Assembly. If there is any, there is need for clarity on that.
Those that led the protest today, we received their letter and will go into the committee work and public hearing, some of these things will come up. But we must understand that when those bills come up, they come as principle of bill.
“The principle of that bill was on frivolous petition; nothing to do with social media. Later, we did find out that there was a section in it that has to do with social media, but that will go away when it comes to third reading when you start doing clause by clause issue,” he said.
Saraki said that the PIB “will ensure greater transparency and efficiency in the oil and gas industry, which are all geared towards opening these sectors to private sector investment and expanding the infrastructure base for the Nigerian economy.
As we speak today, we are on the verge of introducing the first part of PIB for first reading. This sets out a new governance and institutional structure for the oil and gas industry.
The emphasis of the bill is to create a world class oil and gas sector, competitive, open and simple, that would enable the emergence of an efficient oil and gas sector in Nigeria comparable to any other in the world. The new industry, when fully implemented, will see government saving over $4 billion annually on the current joint venture cash call arrangement, thus freeing up funds for critical sectors.
like health, agriculture, education and road maintenance.
“We have targeted also bills aimed at broadening the credit market, lowering credit risk and improving the conflict resolution structures in the system for better commercial dispute resolution.”
He pointed out that “the country, despite the burgeoning revenue inflow, was haemorrhaging from all points. Corruption was elevated to a craft. Six months into the new administration, the mandate to deliver is clear and we will work to deliver.
“You might have heard a lot as regards the politics of the emergence of the leadership in both chambers of the National Assembly, but I will like to reassure you that despite that, we are all committed to bringing about an effective National Assembly, a people- oriented one that is focused on national interest where personal interest will certainly be secondary.
“From the result of the elections, Nigerians spoke clearly that there was no room anymore for business as usual and insisted on getting ‘change’ with particular reference to the fight against corruption, addressing poverty, unemployment and insecurity. Nigerians wanted to see that something was done to curtail wastages in the system.”