By Gloria Essien, Abuja
The House of Representatives has passed through second reading, a Bill For An Act to Provide a Policy Framework For The Development Of Biofuels Energy Industry in Nigeria, through the establishment of Bio-Fuels Energy Regulatory Commission and Bio-Fuels Research Agency.
The bill is Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Benjamin Kalu and six others.
It seeks to establish a thriving fuel ethanol industry utilising agricultural products as a means of improving the quality of automotive fossil-based fuels in Nigeria to promote job creation, rural and agricultural development and technology acquisition and transfer.
It also intends to provide a framework which is capable of attracting foreign investment in the biofuels industry; streamline the roles of the various tiers of government in order to ensure an orderly development of the biofuels industry in Nigeria; and involve the oil and gas industry in a more purposeful development of other sectors of the nation’s economy.
While leading the debate on the bill at plenary, Hon. Khadija Bukar Ibrahim, a co-sponsor of the bill, said that bio-fuel programme constitutes a major and unique attempt to integrate the agricultural sector of the economy with the downstream petroleum sector.
She said that the use of bio-fuels in Nigeria is anticipated to make significant impact on petroleum product quality enhancement, in view of the current limitations of the fossil-based fuels which have not kept pace with the increasing demand for environmentally friendly fuel.
“The Bill comprises of fifty-six (56) clauses and one (1) schedule. It is divided into fourteen (14) parts. The Bill primarily seeks to provide a policy framework for the development of bio-fuel industry in Nigeria, to establish the Bio-fuels Energy Regulatory Commission and to establish the Bio-fuels Research Agency.
“The contemplated legislation will require funds to set up the Bio-fuels Energy Regulatory Commission. It is also important to note that in the long run, as a regulator, the Commission will be self-sustaining. The benefits derivable from the implementation of the provisions of this Bill far outweigh the cost to be incurred.
“The development of bio-fuels industry in Nigeria will be of immense benefit to the society, economy, environment and government.
“In effect, the quest to develop the biofuels sector holds dual benefits of fostering economic growth and inclusivity for farmers while addressing the pressing issue of climate change,” Khadija argued.
The bill was therefore passed for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Science and Research Institutes.