The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has said that the Federal Government will hold an equity stake in trust for the federation in the proposed NNPC Limited in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
The clarification from the minister follows the controversies generated by some sections of the newly signed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) including the ownership structure of the new NNPC Limited.
According to NAN, this disclosure was made by Sylva while briefing the press in Abuja on Thursday, August 19, 2021.
What the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources is saying
Sylva in his statement said, “Just like in the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG), the Federal Government will hold the equity in NNPC Ltd. in trust for the three tiers of government. You must agree that in this country there is a Federal Government of Nigeria and there is a federation. The Federal Government of Nigeria can always hold something in trust for the federation.
“I can assure you that we are already discussing and we are clarifying some of these issues. In this case, what the Federal Government is doing is to hold the equity in trust for the federation.’’
The minister also revealed the Federal Government was in talks with the governors, and that there was no need for any controversy on the issue.
What you should know
It can be recalled that the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) had raised concerns over the proposed ownership structure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as prescribed in the newly signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
The governors, who said they support the unbundling and commercialisation of the NNPC, faulted the part of the legislation that places its ownership on the federal government.
The PIB, recently passed by the National Assembly and signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, seeks to create the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, a corporate entity incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act.
It provides that the ownership of all shares in the incorporated NNPC shall be vested with the government, and the Ministries of Finance and Petroleum shall hold the shares on behalf of the government. The shares are not transferable.
The NGF recommended that given that the corporation is owned by the 3 tiers of government, the new incorporated entity (NNPC Limited) should be owned by a vehicle that “holds the interest of the three tiers of government” and they said that the institution that is currently positioned to carry out this mandate is the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).