President Muhammadu Buhari has finally sent the petroleum industry bill (PIB) to the national assembly for consideration and passage, The PUNCH is reporting.
The bill seeks to scrap the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), according to reports.
The proposed law will in turn establish the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited after all the assets and liabilities of the NNPC have been identified by the ministers of petroleum resources and finance.
The bill also seeks to establish the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
“The Minister (of Petroleum) and the Minister of Finance shall determine the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC to be transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiaries and upon the identification, the minister shall cause such assets, interests and liabilities to be transferred to NNPC Limited,” the newspaper quoted parts of the bill.
“Assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC not transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiary under subsection 1 of this section shall remain the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC until they become extinguished or transferred to the government.
“NNPC shall cease to exist after its remaining assets, interests and liabilities other than its interests, assets, and liabilities transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiaries under subsection 1 of this section shall have been extinguished or transferred to the government.
“The minister shall be at the incorporation of NNPC Limited, consult with the Minister of Finance to determine the number and nominal value of the shares to be allotted which shall form the initial paid-up share capital of the NNPC Limited and the government shall subscribe and pay cash for the shares.
“Ownership of all shares in NNPC Limited shall be vested in the government at incorporation and held by the Ministry of Finance incorporated on behalf of the government.”
Steps to reform the country’s oil sector began in 1999, but successive administrations failed to achieve the feat.
Different sessions of the national assembly had difficulty passing the bill for different reasons.
In an attempt to pass the bill, the eighth national assembly under the leadership of Bukola Saraki, former senate president, broke it into five parts and passed the petroleum industry governance bill (PIGB), but Buhari rejected it in 2018.
The president sent the bill back to the federal lawmakers on three grounds.
Buhari said the PIGB would whittle down his powers as minister of petroleum resources, and that he did not see any “fiscal content” of the bill.
He also said all the ministers he consulted on the bill, asked him not to assent it.
In January, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the national assembly was working towards passing the PIB before the end of the year.