Members of the House of Representatives has backed the licensing of more refineries in the country to ease fuel supply shortages and expand the oil industry, as a bill on refineries passed second reading.
It was also a session where some lawmakers from the Niger Delta opposed the destruction of “illegal refineries” by security agencies, preferring that the operators should be licensed and regulated.
The session was presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yusuf Lasun.
The long title of the bill reads, “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Licensing, Regulation and Incentives to Petroleum Refineries in Nigeria and for other Matters Connected Therewith.”
It was sponsored by a member from Abia State, Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta.
He told his colleagues that with more refineries operating in the oil industry, Nigeria, a leading crude oil producer, would not need to import petroleum products to meet domestic requirements again.
The new bill is being pushed by the House at a time the two chambers of the National Assembly have consistently failed to pass the more robust Petroleum Industry Bill.
A member, Mr. Nicholas Garba-Shehu, though supporting the bill, quickly observed that investments in refineries would remain unattractive as long as the Federal Government retained its fuel subsidy regime.
But, House Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, said the bill could help address unemployment in the country if passed.