by Staff Writer
The lifeblood of our economy, the petroleum industry has been well overdue for an overhaul of the regulations governing the industry.
Earlier this year, the first draft of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was introduced, but many analysts called the bill to be more favourable to petroleum companies.
However, President Goodluck Jonathan sent the bill back for revision, and on Friday asked for the updated legislation to be presented within 14 days.
The Special Task Force commissioned to review of the bill submitted their assessment on Thursday.
According to the Daily Times, the president made the speech to group journalists at the Presidential villa after the draft bill was presented by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke. She said the revised draft which is a product of a 50-year effort, is expected to be discussed first at the next Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
“We will go forward now as directed and prepare for the presentation to the Federal Executive Council, my assumption therefore is that within the next 10 to 14 days, it will be in their hands but again 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 that is done for the government to present.
“This bill has been 50 years in the making, it has taken a long time. It went through the entire gamut of the sixth session of the National Assembly and it did not get promulgated into law. In agreement with the seventh assembly, we took it back and completely reviewed it again.
“This is not a small bill, it is a critical bill for this country and for our oil and gas sector, therefore at this point, government will do the final review and put it in front of the FEC for approval; part of that process is that it will go through the Attorney-General office. Nigerians should understand that we have been in a hurry 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 with it and 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.”
On what makes the new bill different compared to the former one, she said “the teams have reconfigured the various sections. The fiscal regimes used are so much different. The manner and templates for various calculations have been looked at differently and other fiscal areas.
“The issue of domestic gas and 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 we can actually grow a first rate national oil company that over the years will grow to compete with other national oil companies of the likes of Petronas, Petrobras etc.
” All these have been looked at. The administrative roles and some of the others have also been looked at. The intention 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.
“We have professionals now, but they are along the administrative line. We want to ensure that like other agencies of government, there are professionals in the ministry itself so that the ministry is not dependant solely on its technical status.”
Speaking further on the bill, she said it took the committees about six months because of the extensive revision of the bill that has been done.
” A lot of details have gone into it; we have looked at the fiscal regime, we have looked at the reconfiguration of the NNPC to ensure that going forward, it becomes the commercial entity it should have been all along. We have also looked at other administrative roles within the gamut of the sector as well.
” I think that the teams have done a very good job; we are very pleased.”
Mr. President she also said has directed the Ministry of Petroleum along with relevant government stakeholders to do the final overview and prepare it for presentation to the Federal Executive Council.
From: Daily Times