Reps to receive report on electoral bill Wednesday

The Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, has said the chamber is billed to receive the report on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill from the Committee on Electoral Matters on Wednesday.

Members of the National Assembly are billed to embark on their two-month annual recess on Thursday.

Kalu, while briefing journalists on Thursday in Abuja, said the announcement was to clarify the speculations that the bill had been altered by members of the committee.

The House’ spokesman, who noted that Nigerian are right by asking questions and expressing their opinions, said people are “judging and speaking too soon” on the bill, not knowing the National Assembly does not operate on the pages of newspapers.

The lawmaker stated that the bill must go through the required processes and until the report goes through the Committee of a Whole, it would not become an official document.

Kalu, also allayed the fears of Nigerians on the establishment of a Frontier Exploration Fund as contained in the Petroleum Industry Bill. He said the Fund would be used to develop oil exploration across the country.

The lawmaker dismissed insinuations that the Fund was meant for the development of the North, stating that there are six basins in the country where oil is being explored, with three in the North and three in the South.

He pointed out that the Fund would not be at the disposal of the governors of the states where the explorations take place. He added that the money would only be released from the Fund when there is evidence that there is oil in such basins.

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Kalu noted that such was proposed because if International Oil Companies are burdened with the responsibility, the country would not be attractive for their investment. He also noted that no bank in Nigeria has the capacity to fund the exploration and production of oil and gas.

He said, “Anybody thinking that the frontier exploration fund is going to be managed by those in the states classified as frontier states is wrong. Currently we have about six. Three in the north and three in the south. But even the governors of those states do not have access to that money. So it is not like it is a free for all once they declare you frontier state then you have access to the money. That is a misinterpretation.

“The Commission (Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission) would determine who would handle this. And who usually handles it in line with the provision of that particular bill is the NNPC Limited. And remember that the profit from oil is part of where the money is coming from to fund it, and the leases and the rent of these oil locations. That is where the money is coming from to go to that particular purse. So there is nothing to worry about.”


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