The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva has dismissed media reports that the new Petroleum Industry Bill draft sent to the National Assembly has recommended scraping of the NNPC.
He dispelled the suspicions while fielding questions from journalists at the National Assembly after meeting with members clarifying instead that the new PIB draft sought to commercialise and not to scrap the NNPC.
Said he, “We have heard so much noise about NNPC being scrapped but that is not being envisaged by the bill at all. NNPC will not be scrapped but commercialised in line with deregulation move being made across all the streams in the sector comprising of upstream, downstream and midstream.”
“But if you are talking about transforming the industry, the only new thing that we are introducing is the development of the midstream that is the pipeline sector. So we have provided robustly for the growth of the midstream sector. Through commercialisation, the required competitiveness in the sector, will be achieved,” he said.
According to him, by the PIB, the industry will be transformed and the Petroluem Equalisation Fund (PEF) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) will not exist in the same form that they exist now
Meanwhile, the leadership of the National Assembly said on Monday that the Assembly would break the jinx of not being able to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) after multiple shots.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila assured Nigerians that the time has come for the passage of the bill.
They declared this at a meeting of the leadership of the National Assembly with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Silva, in the company of the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari and some other key officials in the Petroleum sector.
The meeting was to brief the National Assembly leaders on the focus of the PIB, which the Senate President confirmed, was forwarded to the Assembly about two weeks ago.
And reflecting on the rough journey of the bill, the Senate President said in his opening remarks “The PIB is said to be jinx actually for a long time; probably from 2007 to 2019.It’s either the bill or bills were sponsored by the Executive and not passed by the Legislature as was the case in 2007, 2011 in the 6th and 7th Assembly.’’
And continuing he said, “In the 8th Assembly, the Legislature sponsored the bill, breaking it down to about three, it passed but there was no assent. Now, the bill is an executive bill coming to the National Assembly and the two chambers promise that we will break that jinx.”
Lawan stressed on why the bill should fly saying “We want to see an oil industry in Nigeria that is properly regulated, an oil industry that not only sustains the investment that we have but attract even more investment, an oil industry that is very competitive.’’
He said the Assembly would provide the oil industry with a legislation that would make it more effective and efficient at the end of the day.
The Speaker, Gbajabiamila who described the bill as “the most important legislation that will come out from the National Assembly in the lifetime of this administration said the bill has been long in the making for several years but I believe this is the session in which it will be passed. We will pass this bill speedily, however, its passage will not sacrifice thoroughness.”
“In the House of Representatives, we have assembled a crack team of legislators who are versed in the workings of the industry. It is an Ad hoc committee drawn from the House Committees on oil, upstream, downstream, local content and gas,” he said,