PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has sent the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is believed would reform the oil and gas sector to the National Assembly for consideration.
According to The Punch, the bill proposes the scrapping of the National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
In place of the NNPC, the bill also proposes the creation of the NNPC Limited, which will be incorporated by the Minister of Petroleum, who alongside the Minister of Finance will determine NNPC’s assets and liabilities that will be inherited by the new firm.
“The Minister (of Petroleum) and the Minister of Finance shall determine the assets, interests, and liabilities of NNPC to be transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiaries and upon the identification, the minister shall cause such assets, interests, and liabilities to be transferred to NNPC Limited,” the bill reads in part.
“Assets, interests, and liabilities of NNPC not transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiary under subsection 1 of this section shall remain the assets, interests, and liabilities of NNPC until they become extinguished or transferred to the government.”
It stated that “NNPC shall cease to exist after its remaining assets, interests and liabilities other than its interests, assets, and liabilities transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiaries under subsection 1 of this section shall have been extinguished or transferred to the government.”
The bill also seeks to establish the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
It also recommends the creation of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority known as ‘The Authority’.
“There is established the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (the Authority) which is a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal,” reads Section 29 of the bill in part.
“The Authority shall be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of midstream and downstream petroleum operations in the petroleum industry.”
Efforts to redirect and upscale the country’s oil sector has been a long battle. The bill to reform the sector has always met a bottleneck and ended in futility.
In 2017, in an attempt to pass the PIB into law, the eight National Assembly under the leadership of Bukola Saraki, split the bill into four parts and successfully passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), but Buhari rejected it in 2018, stating that the bill sought to water down his powers as petroleum minister.