The draft of the revised Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) may be presented to the Executive Council of the Federation (FEC) on Wednesday for consideration and approval it is sent to the National Assembly for passage into law.
The Special Taskforce on the Review of PIB and the Technical Committee on Friday submitted its report to the president, Goodluck Jonathan and other stakeholders in what appears an important juncture in the process of producing a new legal and regulatory framework for the country’s petroleum industry.
At the presentation of the draft law, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, said her ministry would review the document and prepare it for presentation to the FEC. She assured that it would be ready for submission to the National Assembly within the next two weeks.
A member of the Committee said that the presentation of the draft to the FEC could have taken place last week, but had to be shifted till next Wednesday following the President’s trip to Brazil for the Environmental Sustainability Conference.
“We will go forward now as directed and prepare for the presentation to the Federal Executive Council (FEC),” Mrs Alison-Madueke said. “My assumption, therefore, is that within the next 10 to 14 days, it will be in their hands. But that will be at the pleasure of Mr. President. Ours is to present it and review it with government stakeholders, as it is done for every bill for the government to present”.
Underlining the critical importance of the bill to the country’s oil and gas sector, the minister said government is determined to carry out the final review and present it to the FEC for approval after it must have gone through due process at the Attorney-General’s office.
“Nigerians should understand that we have tried for a long time to put this bill out. But we will try to ensure that by the time it enters the National Assembly, we are very comfortable that we are putting forward a Bill that we believe the oil and gas sector can stand on and can grow on for many years to come in this country,” she said.
The minister continued, “The issue of fiscal regime for domestic gas have been looked at robustly. The issue of the reconfiguration of the NNPC to ensure that going forward, it becomes the commercial entity that it is supposed to be and can actually grow a first rate national oil company that will grow over the years to compete with other national oil companies of the likes of Petronas, Petrobras, etc.
“The administrative roles and some of the others have also been looked at. The intention is to ensure that going forward, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is actually a professionally run ministry and that it engages professionals in the oil and gas sector to work within the ministry, which is not the case at all now”.
She said it took the task force almost six months to complete its assignment because it had to carry out extensive revision of the bill, pointing out that a lot of details have gone into it, particularly on the issue of fiscal regime, reconfiguration of the NNPC into a commercial entity and other administrative roles within the sector.
Meanwhile, the new NNPC Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu, has said transparency would be the hallmark of the new management team in all its dealings as a way of correcting people’s perceptions of the corporation.
“NNPC staff are dedicated to service,” he said. “They are professionals, though there are some areas of improvement that we can bring to bear. In the recent past, we have had quite a number of challenges. A lot of eyes are on us on the way we do our business. Those criticisms have been taken on board. My management will plough them back into the system. We will review our processes and reposition NNPC for growth to support the economy.”
On the PIB Bill, he said the NNPC as a national oil company would make its input, pointing out that it has always been the desire of every country to grow its asset base, expertise and the various key components that will enable it grow in terms of asset and expertise.
“We will make our own inputs into all those elements to ensure that they are properly captured,” he said.