- To Set Up NNPC Limited
- Proposes New Agencies for Upstream, Downstream Regulations
- Osinbajo Confident Of Speedy Passage Of Bill After Years Of Stalling
President Muhammadu Buhari has proposed the scrapping of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) in the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2020 on its way to the National Assembly.
The bill proposes the creation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to be incorporated by the Petroleum Minister, which will absorb all the liabilities, interests and assets of the NNPC and its subsidiaries, a report by the Punch said Monday.
According to section 54 of the bill, the “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 proposed legislation also seeks to establish an agency known as the ‘Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission’ which will be saddled with the responsibility of regulating the technical and commercial operations of the Petroleum upstream sector.
Section 4 of the bill states in part, “There is established the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (the commission) which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.”
For the regulation of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum sector, section 29 of the bill proposes the creation of an Agency it termed as ‘The Authority’.
Efforts to reform the Petroleum industry through several pieces of legislations have failed under successive administrations since Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999.
Recall a PIB, decompressed into four parts was re-introduced to the eight national Assembly during the Buhari’s first tenure, but only the Petroleum Industry Governance (PIG) Bill was passed as other three parts of the bill: Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill were dropped by the lawmakers after sundry unyielding stances and debates, coupled with the much vested interests from political and industry players.
But the PIGB, passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives in May 2017 and January 2018 respectively, could not get President Buhari’s assent, on grounds that the bill lacks fiscal content and would erode some powers conferred on the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
The oil reforms bill, which has taken two decades in the making, are urgent this year as low oil prices and a shift towards renewable energy have made competition tougher to attract investment from international oil majors.
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who spoke during a webinar over the weekend was optimistic that the bill would be expeditiously passed because there are already agreements over a number of key issues in the bill between the executive and legislative arms of government.
He said: “That the PIB will go to parliament and we hope that by, I don’t want to commit to any time, I think we have had all sorts of committing to time …in terms of when it will come back from parliament but everybody is excited about getting this done. So, we expect that we should get the PIB into parliament I think within the next couple of weeks maximum I think either two or three weeks; it should be in parliament. I don’t think it should take too long for it to be passed because there is already a lot of legislative and executive agreement about many of the key issues and the rest. I don’t think we should have too many difficulties with the provisions. So, we expect that it will go back for a few changes and all of that and then we should expect that it should come back as quickly as possible; so it’s looking quite good in terms of time.”