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Senate Summons NNPC’s GMD Over Petroleum Industry Bill

The Senate on Wednesday summoned the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, to appear before it tomorrow to brief the lawmakers and make clarifications on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The summon, which was made by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary, requires the NNPC boss to address the lawmakers on the technical and financial details of the Bill before the consideration of its committee’s report on the Bill subsequently.

According to the lawmaker, the briefing will allow Senators, who are not members of the Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources, Downstream, Petroleum, Upstream and Gas Resources, to have a clear understanding of the technical and financial details covered by the provisions of the Bill.

The decision to consider the Bill on Thursday was reached by the legislators after the Report of the Joint Committee on Petroleum ( Downstream) Petroleum ( Upstream) and Gas Resources Petroleum Industry Bill, 2021 ( SB. 510) was laid by its Chairman, Senator Sabo Mohammed.

Before now, the Senate President had urged the Senators to get the copies of the report which would be considered tomorrow.

Lawan said: “Let me use the opportunity to thank our Joint Committee for working so hard, selflessly and patriotically to produce the report on the Petroleum Industry Bill.

“This report, a copy each, must be made available to each and every Senator today, this afternoon. I don’t know how the Committee would arrange it, but every Senator must have a copy today. And we would be considering the report on Thursday.

“So, we have today, tomorrow until the beginning of Thursday to look at the report, so that when we consider it, we will be doing so on the basis of what we have been able to read from this very important report”, the lawmaker added.

Lawan, who spoke shortly after a closed-door session with the security chiefs, had said that before that before the end of last quarter, “we expect that our committees will still be working particularly the Joint Committee working on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The PIB scaled second reading in October 2020 and after debate on the its general principles, it was referred to the Committees on Petroleum Upstream, Downstream, and Gas for submission of its report within eight weeks.

The PIB which has been pending in the National Assembly since 2007, is an executive Bill seeking to promote the competitive and liberalised downstream sector of the petroleum industry and the development of fuel and chemical industries, among other objectives.

It would be recalled that the Senate President had last month assured that the 9th National Assembly would make the timely passage of PIB part of its enduring legacies.

The new PIB is seen by industry experts as an important legislative draft work based on its provisions which seek to ensure far-reaching restructuring of the hydrocarbon resources sector and promote transparency and accountability in both its upstream and downstream sub-sectors.

For instance, its Section 54(1, 2 and 3) provide, among others, that “the Minister (of Petroleum) and the Minister of Finance shall determine the assets, interests, and liabilities of NNPC to be transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiaries and upon the identification, the minister shall cause such assets, interests, and liabilities to be transferred to NNPC Limited.

“Assets, interests, and liabilities of NNPC not transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiary under subsection 1 of this section shall remain the assets, interests, and liabilities of NNPC until they become extinguished or transferred to the government”, it added.

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