Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)

Following the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent his signature to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), a former Group Executive Director (GED) Engineering and Technology, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Godswill Ihetu, has blamed the Senate for removing the powers of the Minister to allocate oil bloc on discretions.

Reacting to the report, Dr Ihetu said that “it is wrong to assume that the Minister of Petroleum Resources discretionally allocates oil blocs. The last time oil bloc was allocated in Nigeria was during the Abacha era. And it General Sani Abacha that awarded the oil blocs and not Dan Etete.

“What we had during Obasanjo administration was marginal oil fields bid round and they were allotted on merit basis in a transparent manner. PIGB has whittled down the powers of the Minister and such issues remain contentious. The Senate did not do its homework very well. It overreacted.

“You should also note that PPPRA has also been crying that the regulatory agency that will be created by PIGB will be too powerful.”

When asked for the way forward, he posited that “both the Executive and the Legislature should work together by removing all contentious issues and pass the very good aspects of the bill like the proposed NNPC reforms.”

The Group Managing Director (GMD), NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, had also raised that alarm that creating more companies from the NNPC may lead to labour issues and may not be good for the country.

Dr Baru started by asking for clarifications on funding structure for the proposed Nigerian Petroleum Asset Management Company (NPAMC) in the PIGB.

“Though the Bill is focused on the key governing institutions in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry and aims to separate the regulatory, policy and commercial roles of public sector agencies and allocate respective roles to agency properly positioned to perform them, it is important to adequately clarify funding pattern for the proposed NPAMC and the Liability Management Company (NPLMC).

“The issuance of well-defined contract terms to the executive directors may address this issue. The newly established commercial entities are expected to be governed in line with the provisions of the Code of Corporate Governance issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, the Bill does not include recommendations to address possible conflicts that may arise between its provisions and those of the SEC Code”, he observed.

To prevent this possible ambiguity, Baru said there is need to emphasize the superiority of the provisions of the Bill over those of the SEC Code, where such conflicts arise.

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