Unbundling of NNPC imminent as PIB scales second reading in Senate

SENATE on Wednesday  passed for second reading, Petroleum Industry Governance Bill 2016, (PIB) thus  kick  starting the process of breaking the monopoly  of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on oil industry in the country

The bill which was sponsored by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura (APC Ondo Central). seeks among others,  to create efficient and effective institutions with clear and separate roles for the petroleum industry.

Alasoadura in the lead debate said the existing NNPC would be unbundled into two commercial entities limited by shares, which are, The National Petroleum Company (NPC) and the National Assets Management Company (NAMC).

He added that  the proposed NPC will operate as a commercial entity in order to ensure efficiency across the value chain while the NAMC shall ensure maximum value for the federation through prudent management of its oil and gas investment.

Beside the Petroleum Minister which the new bill informed shall be responsible for policy formulation and supervision of the petroleum industry on behalf of the federal government, a commission to be known as The Petroleum Regulatory Commission (PRC) would be saddled with regulatory functions over the industry.

The PRC he said shall be the Industry Regulator and Watchdog, responsible for licensing , monitoring , supervision of petroleum operations , enforcing laws, regulations and standards across the value chain.

The lawmaker explained that the bill is the first segment out of the five being worked upon by his committee to avoid controversies that affected passage of the previous ones presented in bulk-some in the past.

According to him  “Continuous stalling and delay in the passage of the bill, has hampered huge investment opportunities, keeping the country’s future in limbo and denying Nigeria the unique competitive edge as oil and gas leader in Sub Saharan Africa.

“Consequently, the current effort has adopted a method of splitting the PIB into logical smaller pieces for submission to the 8th National Assembly, a complete departure from all prior attempts.

“This way, the individual elements can be expeditiously considered and passed one after the other and where amendments are required in future, the relevant bill can be separately considered”.