Buhari erred by excluding Osinbajo, BPE, others in PIA Implementation Committee – Expert

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s composition of the Implementation Committee of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) lacked tact, a Senior Technical Adviser to the former Minister of State for Energy Dan Kunle said on Thursday.

Kunle said he expected Vice President Osibajo’s Office to be vested with the Act’s implementation.

He also said Buhari should have co-opted other top members of his cabinet that constitutes the National Privatization Council, headed by Osinbajo, into the committee.


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Kunle, who worked with Emmanuel Olatunde Odusina during late President Musa Y’Adua’s tenure, shared his views when he appeared on the Arise TV’s “The Morning Show.”

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He opined that the Nigeria oil and gas industry might crumble within six months or a year with the committee.

He said he was very uncomfortable when he saw the list of the committee inaugurated by the president on Wednesday.  

“I wondered why apart from Femi, the lawyer that came from outside, the remaining members were all from within the corridors of power, and not including Vice President that is the Chairman on National Council on Privatization and Chairman of National Economic Council. It was very strange.

“I don’t know the reason, but I think the people they put there cannot reform the oil and gas sector because you cannot reform yourself. It is not possible.”

Justifying his position that Buhari should have given Osinbajo’s Office the Act to implement, he said the National Council on Privatization had the Ministers of Justice, Finance, State for Petroleum, Finance and the CBN Governor as members. 

He also suggested that Buhari should have nominated the officials as committee members, including Kaduna State Governor Malam Nasir el-Rufai.

Kunle said though Buhari had the discretionary power to form the committee, the committee lacked the expertise to do its job.

He sought to know who would be in charge of reorganizing the existing and new subsidiaries in the sector.

He said if the government was not careful because of politics that would kick off in 2022, the panel would face series of litigations.

“By May next year, it may become so political that the industry may be stranded. The oil and gas industry may be stranded in the next two years.

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“I would have suggested to Mr President to allow the Vice President and the National Council on Privatization to carry out those reforms.”

He also wondered why Buhari did not engage the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), which he said had been at the centre of reforms in the sector. 

Speaking on the failure of the Buhari government to end subsidy with the operationalization of the new law, he said the country would be insolvent within six months or a year and would not be able to pay salaries, except the Central Bank would have to print notes.

According to him, the government was only “postponing the evil days” with its stance on retaining fuel subsidy.

He said subsidy funds had been ending in some “invisible hands making so much money somewhere else” and not the populace.

He, however, commended the president for the “political sagacity” he demonstrated, signing the Petroleum Industry Bill into law.




     

     

    He said, “no law is perfect”, adding that the National Assembly would make needed amendment subsequently.

    Buhari signed the Petroleum Industry Bill on Monday, 13 years after it was transferred to the National Assembly by late President Y’Adua’s government.

    Members of the implementation committee include Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Group Managing Director, NNPC, Executive Chairman, FIRS, representative of the Ministry of Justice and representative of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

    The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Natural Resources, Olufemi Lijadu, serves as External Legal Adviser, while the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, serves as Head of the Coordinating Secretariat and the Implementation Working Group.

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    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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