Buhari seeks amendment to Petroleum Industry Act

•Wants Senate's confirmation of Board of Upstream Regulatory Commission, Petroleum Regulatory Authority

Barely five weeks after signing the Petroleum Industry Bill into law, President Muhammadu Buhari has written the National Assembly to seek administrative structure amendments of the Petroleum Industry Act ( PIA) and confirmation of appointments into the board of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

In the amendments read on Tuesday by President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, President Buhari said the amendment was necessary to achieve geopolitical balancing in representation on the non-Executive Board.

The letter read in part: “I wish to forward to the Senate the attached administrative structure amendments on the PIA for your kind consideration and approval.

“Having carefully reviewed the administrative structure of both the commission and authority, I will like to propose the following amendments to the PIA.

“(a) Appointment of non-executive board members. The PIA provided for the appointment of two non-executive members for the board of the two institutions. I am of the view that this membership initiates limitations and does not address the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country.

“I, therefore, pray for the intervention of the ninth assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of national unity. Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion for almost every section of the country in the decision making of strategic institutions such as the oil industry. If this amendment is approved, it will now increase the number of non-executive members from two to six giving room for one person from each geo-political zone.

“(b) Removal of the ministers of petroleum and finance from the board of the two institutions. The proposed amendment will increase the membership of the board from nine to 13, that is, representing 44 per cent expansion on both sides. This competition will strengthen the institutions and also achieve the expected policy contributions.

“The two ministries already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or intergovernmental relations that will continue to perform such roles without being in the board. It is also important to note that administratively, the representatives of the ministries in the board will be directors in the same rank in the institutions

“(c) Appointment of executive directors. The Act has made provisions for seven departmental heads in the authority to be known as executive directors. The appointment will also be subject to Senate’s confirmation.

“The Senate is invited to note the need to exempt serving public officers from the established confirmation process for political appointments.

“This will ensure effective management of the revenue-generating institutions through the uniform implementation of public service roles for employees in the authority.

“The proposed amendments to the PIA which is aimed at laying safe administrative structures governed by simple operational laws that will ensure smooth take-off and consequent growth of the two institutions and also in line with this administration’s commitment to carry out petroleum reforms.”

President Buhari in another letter to the upper chamber also sought the confirmation of the Board of the Upstream Regulatory Commission.

He explained in a letter dated September 16, 2021, and read during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, that the request to confirm the Chairman, Chief Executive and Executive Directors for the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority was made in accordance with the provision of Section 34(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.

The nominees for confirmation into the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Board are Idaere Gogo Ogan (Chairman); Engr. Sarki Auwalu (Chief Executive); Abiodun A. Adeniji (Executive Director, Finance and Accounts); and Ogbugo Ukoha (Executive Director, Distributions Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure).

Also in another letter dated September 16, 2021, President Buhari while relying on the provision of Section 11(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, requested the Senate to confirm the appointment of four nominees as Chairman, Chief Executive and Executive Commissioners to the Board of the Upstream Regulatory Commission.

The nominees for confirmation are Isa Ibrahim Modibo (Chairman); Engr. Gbenga Komolafe (Chief Executive); Hassan Gambo (Executive Commissioner, Finance and Accounts); and Ms Rose Ndong (Executive Commissioner, Exploration and Acreage Management).

According to the president, both requests for the confirmation of the board’s membership were made “in order to fast track the process for the establishment of the Commission”.


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