President Muhammadu Buhari has sought amendments to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021.
Buhari’s request was contained in separate letters addressed to Senate President Ahmad Lawan and House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, and read at the commencement of plenary on Tuesday.
Buhari, in the letter, said the amendments became imperative after a review of the administrative structure of both the Upstream Regulatory Commission and Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
PIA provides for the establishment of the two agencies to regulate activities in the upstream, midstream and downstream oil industry.
The president specifically sought for the expansion of the non-executive board members of each of the two regulatory institutions from two to six; removal of the ministries of petroleum and finance from the board of the two institutions and exempting Executive Directors of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, who are civil servants, from Senate confirmation process.
He said, “The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 provided for the appointment of two non-executive members for the board of the two regulatory institutions.
“I am of the view that this membership limitation has not addressed the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country, therefore, pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity.
“Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion to 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 the non-executive members from two to six, that is one person from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.”
Removal of finance and petroleum ministries from agencies’ board
Buhari said the inclusion of the ministries of finance and petroleum in the board of the two agencies may bring some complications in some decision making especially on issues of staff related matters.
“They already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or inter-governmental relations.”
“They can 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, being the same rank with the Directors in the institution.
“This may bring some complications in some decision making especially on issues of staff related matters,” Buhari said.