President Muhammadu Buhari has submitted the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the National Assembly for further consideration and possible passage.
The version of the bill sent by the president to the National Assembly proposes the scraping of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It seeks the replacement of the latter by a new organization, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
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The bill also proposes the establishment of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
According to reports, the bill says that the Minister of Finance will incorporate the new company. Both the finance and petroleum ministers will also determine what assets of the old company will be transferred to NNPC Limited.
However, assets and liabilities that are not moved to NNPC Limited will remain in the possession of the old NNPC until they are ‘extinguished’ or taken over by the government. NNPC would cease to exist after this exercise is complete, the bill says.
The Federal ministers of finance and petroleum will also determine the number and value of shares that form the initial share capital of NNPC Limited. The government will own all shares in the company at its incorporation.
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The Petroleum Industry Bill is at the core of efforts to reform Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. Past administrations have attempted and failed to implement these reforms; the present efforts have also been long drawn out.
The eight National Assembly, led by former senate president Bukola Saraki, had passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) in 2018. However, President Buhari had rejected that bill for a number of reasons, including the complaint that it would reduce his powers as Minister of Petroleum.
Earlier in the year, the current Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said that the assembly was working to pass the bill before the year runs out.
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