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Buhari writes Senate on Petroleum Industry Act amendment

By News Desk

President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the Red chambers of National Assembly to sought the lawmakers permission in amending the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

He said that the amendment had become imperative to ensure the removal of the Ministers of Petroleum and Finance from the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and having carefully reviewed the administrative structure of both the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, and the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission.

The president submitted that both ministers can continue to perform their functions without necessarily being members of the board, adding that such would ensure the board was free of cabinet members.

Buhari, in a letter read on Tuesday during plenary by the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, was also seeking for the amendment to allow the Non-Executive Members to be increased from two to six in the interest of the national petroleum company.

“I am of the view that this membership limitation has not addressed the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country,” he said in the letter to the lawmakers.

“I, therefore, pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity.

“Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision making of strategic institutions such as the oil industry.”

Also, in a separate letter, the president sought the screening and subsequent confirmation of board members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

It would be recalled that Buhari had in August signed the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021 which seeks to introduce changes to the governance, administrative, regulatory, and fiscal framework of the Nigerian oil and gas industry into law.

The Senate and House of Representatives in July passed the much-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law following a thorough consideration of the over 300 provisions in the bill presented before the lawmakers after 20 years of deliberations.

The bill passed by both chambers seeks to introduce changes to the governance, administrative, regulatory, and fiscal framework of the Nigerian oil and gas industry, particularly ensuring transparency, strengthen governing institutions, and attract investment capital, among other objectives to the sector.

According to both chambers, the bill got the input of the executive and legislative arms of government to prevent any further agitations from stakeholders in the sector which the bill seeks to assist in boosting oil production and other activities.

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who both presided over the plenary separately on July 1, described the passage as a landmark achievement and commended the committees that worked to ensure its passage.

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