The Executive arm of the Nigerian Government on Monday delivered the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the National Assembly, as the country seeks a closure to a Law that has been 18 years in the making.
First introduced during President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, the PIB in various forms and shapes have suffered several set-backs, the most recent being the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent into law the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).
At the onset of the 9th Assembly, the leadership of NASS took a bold decision that no PIB would be considered unless it came from the Executive Arm of the Nigerian Government.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva told journalists after an interactive session with the leadership of the NASS on Monday that the PIB would give legal backing to government’s plan to commercialise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He dismissed media reports that the new draft PIB sent to National Assembly has recommended scrapping of the NNPC.
According to him: “We have heard so much noise about NNPC being scrapped but that is not being envisaged by the bill at all.
“NNPC will not be scrapped but commercialised in line with deregulation move being made across all the streams in the sector comprising of upstream, downstream and midstream.
“We have said that NNPC will be commercialised. But if you are talking about transforming the industry, the only new thing that we are introducing is the development of the midstream, that is the pipeline sector.
“So we have provided robustly for the growth of the midstream sector. Through commercialisation, the required competitiveness in the sector, will be achieved.”
Sylva said that the host communities would also have the best deal from the bill.
He explained that the PIB will transform the petroleum industry as the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) will not exist in the same form that they exist currently.
“But I don’t want to go into the details of the bill until it is read on the floor of the Senate,” he added.