The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), one fourth of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which provides for the governance and institutional framework for the petroleum industry and for other related matters. A major part of this Bill being that the President loses power to allocate oil blocks. A practice that has been liked to corruption too often.
The PIB is a combination of Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), Petroleum Host Community Bill (PHCB), Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB) and the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill (PIAB).
PIGB which was passed by the Senate in May 2017, seeks to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), provide for the establishment of Federal Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated, Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Nigerian Petroleum Assets Management Company and National Petroleum Company and Petroleum Equalisation Fund.
Praising the passage, Senate President Bukola Saraki said it represents a historic milestone and it’s passage into law will help address the perennial scarcity of fuel in the Country and also provide conducive business environment for the petroleum industry.
“Most important, with the ongoing fuel scarcity in many parts of the Country, Nigerians should know that the PIGB, once it becomes law, will help alleviate those issues that lead to scarcity, such as: the limited supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS); the poor import planning schedule that leads to fuel importation constraints; the corruption, diversion and smuggling — that leads to artificial scarcity; and the absence of deregulation in the sector.”
The Speaker of the House Of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara urged President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, sign the Bill into law.
He explained that the House had to expedite action in the passage of it’s own version of the bill following failure of the Executive to present a draft bill to the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, the Senate has directed its Joint-Committee on Petroleum and Gas Resources to speedily conclude work on the segment of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that deals with the interests of oil producing communities, otherwise known as Host Community Bill.
The PIGB aims to establish the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission as a one-stop regulator responsible for licensing, monitoring, supervising petroleum operations, as well as enforcing industry laws, regulations and standards.
Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPRC) will be created to replace the Petroleum Pricing & Products Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
It will also establish the Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated (MOPI) under the Federal Ministry of Petroleum.
Its responsibility includes, but is not limited to: Grant, amend, renew, extend and revoke licenses on recommendation from the NPRC. This implies that the President will be stripped off his Executive power of allocating oil blocks.
The objectives of the Commission is to “ensure strict implementation of the environmental policies, laws and regulations oil and gas operations, as well as promote conducive environment for investments in the petroleum industry.”
It will also ensure the monitoring, inspecting, reporting, and supervision of the sale of products; contracting, licensing, and regulating sectors, as well as collaborating and consulting with other agencies (foreign and national).
The NPRC is charged with environmental safety; making sure the communities where oil is being drilled are secure from environmental hazard, i.e Ogoni.
Pursuant to the provisions of this Bill, the Commission can make regulations necessary to give proper effect to the provisions of the Bill.
The process requires conducting a public hearing prior to making a regulation. The notice of such hearings is published in two national dailies and the Commission’s website. The findings of the public hearings shall be considered in making any regulations.
This means, a regulation like fuel subsidy will be subjected to public hearing and the result would be considered.
Clause 30 provides that the Commission is not subject to taxation. The Commission shall generate revenue for the Federation (Clause 26(2)(a)), hence the tax exemption.
— Public Senate (@thepublicsenate) January 19, 2018