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National Assembly sends bill on proceeds of crime to Buhari

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The National Assembly has transmitted the Proceeds of Crime Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

It is aimed at boosting the fight against corruption.

The bill, which was transmitted on Monday, is considered as one of the key legal instruments in the fight against corruption.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes, Kayode Oladele, confirmed this in an interview with journalists in Abuja.

He said the Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2017 was a 12-part legislation which would make provisions for the confiscation, forfeiture and management of property derived from unlawful activities.

He said it would be a landmark in the effort to stem the tide of corruption in the country when the President assented the bill.

The Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2017 (HB 872) was read for the first time on December 7, 2016.

On January 18, 2017, the House referred the bill to the Committee of the Whole for consideration, pursuant to Order XII Rule 16 of the House of Representatives Standing Orders.

Meanwhile, Dogara, on Tuesday faulted the current oil production sharing formula between Nigeria and the Joint Venture Companies, describing it as unfavourable.

He stated this at the opening of a public hearing by the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) on a bill for an Act to amend the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Act, CAP D3 2004.

He said the passage of the proposed amendment bill was not only imperative but long overdue.

He said the current sharing formula had become unrealistic and was not favourable to the country.

He noted that the oil sector was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy.

Dogara said the bill under consideration was aimed at ensuring higher earnings to government from offshore operations.

He said, “In this era of economic doldrums in the country, the passage of this bill will help to shore up our earnings from oil, cushion the economic hardship and ameliorate our burden of budget deficit.

“The production sharing contracts were made as far back as 1993. The formula used has, no doubt, become unrealistic and not favourable to the country. This makes the passage of this amendment bill not only imperative but overdue.

“It is a bill that promotes equity and fairness between the government and our joint venture companies.

“The need for equity and fairness in the business environment cannot be over-emphasised. In this regard, I want to implore our joint venture operators to always cooperate with the government in ensuring transparency in the oil sector.”

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Nwokolo Victor, said the public hearing was as a result of the resolution of the House on April 24, 2019.

He assured the people that the committee was working to improve the socio-economic well-being of Nigerians.

In a memorandum submitted to the committee, the Oil Producers Trade Section expressed concerns about the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (PSC Amendment Bill), which introduced a royalty rate of 50% on revenues above $20/bbl (1993 real terms, translating to $35lbbl in 2019) in addition to existing water-depth based royalties.

The OPTS said, “This would be in addition to already existing statutory obligations in form of taxes, fees, levies, tariffs, and NNPC profit oil.”

It warned that the bill, if passed, would increase government revenue in the short-term but that  it would diminish economic viability of deepwater projects.

The development, it added, would stall deepwater investments in Nigeria and negatively impact production, Federal Government revenue, local jobs.

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