Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said that some people within and outside the government are working against the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
Lawan however, assured that the patriotism of the federal lawmakers will ensure they get the Bill passed.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, on the occasion of his 62nd birthday on Tuesday, January 12; Lawan said: “By the grace of God, when we resume, we will start work on the Petroleum Industry Bill. That is going to be one heck of a legislation that not only Nigeria but the entire world is waiting for; because that will change our economy. Money will start flowing.
“I have prayed so hard for me to calling PIB; PIB like that because that PIB thing, there are people both within and outside the country who will work against it; but it is going to be the strength of our patriotism to pass it.”
According to him, the federal lawmakers faced similar opposition before the passage of the amendment to the Deep Offshore Production Sharing Contract.
“When in 2019, we said we will pass the amendment to the deep offshore Production Sharing contract; here in this house, we have been spending nights. We close at 3 am just working to amend that act. People didn’t work it happen because they stopped it from happening for 20 years.
“You bring it they will come and do something and the thing will disappear. When we said we will do it, one of them came to me and said ‘SP, you see, you don’t have to do this thing now. It is not going to work’. Then I say we will try. We started.
“The second day, they came and said ‘if you do this, we will leave this country o because that will be against some interests’. I said for once let us do something for our country; and I laughed and said you are not going anywhere. In a week, they thought it was a joke, we finished the amendment.
“For that singular act, that we lost billions of naira; where we were supposed to be given $2 billion every year, in the last 20 years, they were giving us $216million.
“From last year after the amendment, it is now $2 billion. People didn’t celebrate us even if they knew what happened; but that was what we did for our country”, Lawan said.
Lawan stated that the country’s economy would have been worse; if the federal parliament had not passed the 2020 budget the previous year.
He said: “Our economy would have been worse if the budget 2020 was passed midyear last year like the practice was. But we suffered a recession of -6%, now we in a recession of -3.2%; and that is because we were still able to get the budget passed.
“The recession, we have been told by the experts will come to end probably at the end of the first quarter this year; because we have extended the implementation period of the 2020 capital budget allocation to 31st March.”