‘One comma, one semicolon shouldn’t stop investments’ — Saraki hits presidency on PIGB


Bukola Saraki, president of the Nigerian senate, says one comma, one semicolon, should not stop the level of investments that could come into the country’s petroleum sector.

Speaking at the 24th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja on Monday, Saraki said the eight assembly has been focused on passing economic bills, which would drive the economy.
He added that the assembly could have done more if it had the full support of the executive arm of government.
“We have bills that we have sent to the executive that have come back with one observation or comment,” Saraki said.

“The petroleum industry bill is a good example; that should have been an executive bill because of the importance of that bill to the economy, no doubt about that.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t, we took the responsibility to drive that bill to a place it had never been before over the decades. A lot of people when we started said we could not do it, but we’ve shown we had the political will and commitment to do it.
“We split it into four, and we passed the first one and it went to the executive. What I would have expected considering the kind of work that was done, was for the two arms of government to sit down and because the issues that have been raised are not issues that should stop a bill from passing with all due respect.
“Unfortunately, after so many months, that bill has come back with queries that I think can easily be thrashed out in a day’s session.

Saraki said the players in the petroleum industry have asked that since the government could not agree on the governance bill, how would it agree on the fiscal bill?
“Our intention is to go back to the executive and sit down with them and say, let us drop our partisan hats and look in the interest of Nigeria.
“It has taken a lot of powers from the executive and given more powers t the technocrats, which is what is good to make it more transparent.
“The observations made, I don’t think are enough to stop that bill from passing, because of the impact it will make in investment, because as you know, there is no serious invvestment in the petroleum sector because people are not sure where they are.
“We have a great opportunity because when we started, prices of crude oil was in the 50s, now it is in the 80s, you have problems in places like Venezuela, Iran — I mean it is a golden opportunity for Nigeria to take advantage.
“I don’t think paragragph two, three, one comma, one semicolon here and there should prevent this level of investment. It is a great opportunity for investment, and if we didn’t get it right, I think it is to lock ourselves up in a room and sit down and address those issues.”