The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, Implementation Steering Committee with a charge to members to ensure effective and timely implementation of the Law.
The Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva who inaugurated the committee disclosed that equity in the proposed NNPC Limited as prescribed by the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, will be held by the Federal Government in trust for the Federation.
Chief Sylva told journalists on Thursday in Abuja at the inauguration of the PIA Implementation Steering Committee that just like in the Nigeria LNG, the Federal Government will hold the equity in NNPC Ltd in trust for the three tiers of government.
While disclosing that the Federal Government was in discussion with Nigerian Governors Forum on the issue, he said there was no need for controversy over it.
“You must agree that in this country there is a Federal Government of Nigeria and there is a Federation. The Federal Government of Nigeria can always hold something in trust for the Federation.
“Depending on which side you stand on, you want to introduce complications on this matter but I can assure you that we are already discussing and we are clarifying some of these issues. In this case, what the Federal Government is doing is to hold the equity in trust for the Federation”, he stated.
He described the opposition to the provision of three percent host community fund in the PIA as political, pointing out that most repected leaders in the Niger Delta region have not spoken against to the provision.
He said he does not expect any unrest in the region over the issue.
According to him, “Frankly I don’t know why there would be unrest in the Niger Delta. I know that there are a lot of politicians who have taken this as a political issue and they are politicizing it but I have not heard the leaders of the Niger Delta that I respect kick against this.
“I see a lot of politicking around this issue but I have not really seen very senior Niger Delta people that we all respect that are apolitical speak about this”, he added.
He called for patient from the region, saying “let us wait and see what this money will do”, explaining that the government would have no role in the management of the fund as it will be determined by the operating companies and the communities.
The implementation steering committee membership listed by the Minister included him as Chairman with the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau as head of the implementation working Group/Coordinating Secretariat.
Other members are: Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Sani Gwarzo; NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari; FIRS Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami; Senior Special Assistant to President on Natural Resources, Dr. Nuhu Habib; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Aliyu Ahmed; representative of the Ministry of Justice; and Barrister Olufemi Lijadu as External Legal Adviser.
Questioned on why the committee was dominated by people from the northern part of the country with no female included, the Minister explained that membership was tied to offices and not handpicked.
“Let us not over flog this situation because when you say you are nominating, it is offices that are represented. I represent the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and then the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, there is no way because of gender equality I am going to look for somebody else to be here apart from the permanent secretary.
“When I say the ES PTDF is the secretariat, there is no way I can go and change the ES PTDF. If I say the GMD NNPC is to be a member, we cannot look for a South-South GMD or a South-East GMD. These are issues that you have raised which we will take onboard and these are some of the issues the PIA seeks to correct, transparency and inclusiveness”.
He assured that the implementation working group would be more diverse and inclusive.
On the work of the committee, he disclosed that the committee will “guide the effective and timely implementation of the Law in the course of transition to the new petroleum industry envisaged in the reform programme;
“Ensure that the new institutions created have the full capability to deliver on their mandate under the new legislation;
“Approve the Roadmap for Implementation which will be presented by the Implementation Working Group/Coordinating Secretariat;
“Approve or ratify the appointments of Consultants who will support the Implementation Working Group/Coordinating Secretariat;
“Approve all recommendations for the institutional design and personnel movements as envisaged by the Law;
“Coordinate timely preparation of appropriate model licenses, leases and regulations including reviews and endorsement for presidential approval;
“Approve all recommendations of actions or outcomes required to implement any provision of the Law; and
“Do all such things as may be necessary and appropriate to give effect to and implement any provision of the Law as approved by Mr. President”.