President Muhammadu Buhari has proposed the scrapping of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) in the new long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill 2020 which has just been transmitted to the National Assembly.
According to a report from Punch, the president has proposed the creation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited that will inherit the assets and liabilities of the NNPC to be determined the Minister of Petroleum and the Minister of Finance as well as the establishment of Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
The bill proposes that the petroleum minister shall within 6 months from the commencement of the Act, incorporate a limited liability company called the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited) under the Companies and Allied Matters Act.
Sections of the bill state, “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.
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“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.’’
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“NNPC shall cease to exist after its remaining assets, interests and liabilities other than its interests, assets, and liabilities transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiaries under subsection 1 of this section shall have been extinguished or transferred to the government.”
“The minister shall be at the incorporation of NNPC Limited, consult with the Minister of Finance to determine the number and nominal value of the shares to be allotted which shall form the initial paid-up share capital of the NNPC Limited and the government shall subscribe and pay cash for the shares.’’
It also states that the “ownership of all shares in NNPC Limited shall be vested in the government at incorporation and held by the Ministry of Finance incorporated on behalf of the government.”
The bill also states that the proposed Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission will be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of upstream petroleum operations while the new Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority shall be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of midstream and downstream petroleum operations in the petroleum industry.
The new bill technically scraps the PPPRA with the creation of the new agencies that will now carry out the PPPRA’s functions.
Nairametrics had reported last week that President Buhari was expected to submit the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the National Assembly early this week following his approval.
The PIB which is an oil reform bill has been in the works for about 20 years starting with the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and is key to the repositioning of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry under its post-COVID-19 agenda as the main laws governing oil and gas exploration have not been fully updated since the 1960s due to some contentious issues like taxes, payments to local communities, terms and revenue sharing within Nigeria.
Successive administrations have tried without success to pass the bill that is supposed to reform the oil and gas sector.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had disclosed that the delay and non-passage of the bill have made international investors start losing confidence in the country’s oil and gas industry.
During President Buhari’s first term, the Eighth NASS split the bill into four parts namely the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill — in a bid to fast-track its passage into law.
However, after the passage of the PIGB by the National Assembly, the president declined to sign the bill because of the retention of 10% of the revenue generated by the Petroleum Regulatory Commission which they considered too high and the whittling down of the powers of the Minister for Petroleum.