President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has said that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be laid at plenary of the two chambers of the National Assembly.
Saraki made this known while delivering the keynote address at the Maiden Edition of the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER) on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the 8th National Assembly was poised to make laws that would contribute to the growth of the economy, particularly in view of the current economic challenges.
“As part of the activities leading to the inaugural NASSBER, a Business Environment Legislative review was conducted and the final peer-review report was submitted to the National Assembly on Feb. 29, 2016.
“The report identified institutional, regulatory and legal instruments currently constraining and impeding business activity in Nigeria.
“The findings and recommendations of the Business Environment Legislative Review Report provide a framework for the assessment and improvement of legislation and policy affecting businesses in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Saraki said the aim of NASSBER was to ensure that the private sector played an active and effective role in the formulation of public policy.
He added that the platform would ensure collaboration among the private sector, legislature and executive to promote relevant and sound public policy.
“The National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable hopes to achieve a number of specific objectives, including, legislative reform as it pertains to improving the business environment in Nigeria.
“We have to strengthen the foundation of Nigeria’s economy by ensuring smart and effective regulation and embark on increasing competitiveness and private sector investment,’’ he said.
He added that the Federal Government should also encourage opening and expanding of markets through infrastructure development and creating engagement, advocacy and consultation across key stakeholders.
The Head of Economic Growth of the Department for International Development (DFID) in Nigeria, Mr Simon Kenny, said that one of the major economic challenges confronting Nigeria was over dependence on oil revenue.
“If you look at the demands of oil produced in Nigeria and the low price of oil, and divide that by the vast number of people in Nigeria, there is only around 200 dollars of oil per capital per year in the country.
“There is no way rising price of oil can raise Nigeria to anything above a middle income country and I know that the aspirations of Nigeria have gone beyond that to become a high level income country.
“So, oil revenue has dropped and this is the reality we are facing at the moment. The low price of oil has offered a perfect opportunity to increase investment and to build industries,’’ he said.
Kenny urged the Federal Government to encourage import competitiveness as opposed to import substitution, adding that the private sector should also be encouraged to boost the competition.
He said “I often hear the term import substitution as a policy for Nigerian government to help drive local industries. You need to replace the word import substitution with import competitiveness.
“The executive is there to implement policies but the legislature has a key role in ensuring that the right legal framework is in place.’’