The Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) has celebrated the assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the current administration has demonstrated unwavering commitment to change Nigeria democratically.
The APC governors also said the new PIB present a convincing credential and commitment of the party to restructure Nigerian economy through democratic process in line with provisions of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday assented to the Bill as passed by the National Assembly.
But responding to the development through a statement signed Wednesday in Abuja by its chairman and Kebbi state governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, congratulated the president for achieving what he called “important milestone” and pledged the commitment of the forum to support the process of transition to the new era of oil and gas operational and management as provided by the new Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
“After more than two decades of endless national debates and stalemate, there is today a new Petroleum Industry Act in the country, which has provided six months transition for the emergence of new institutional framework for the operations of oil and gas industry in the country.
“The Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) commends Mr. President for this historic feat of moving the nation forward to a new democratic era of governance and business management of the oil and gas industry. With Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) now unbundled, and in its place three new structures – Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority and Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited – stronger accountability structures, each with a Board drawing representation from stakeholders in the oil and gas industry is instituted.
“The monopoly status of the old NNPC, which vested it with both the powers of regulating the industry as well as extraction and sales of crude oil in both the upstream, midstream and downstream has been abolished.
“With the new Act, the task of regulation is vested in the two regulatory bodies created by the law. While extraction and sales of crude will now be undertaken by both the new Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and other private companies in both the upstream, midstream and downstream, in line with regulatory standards respectively provided by the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority created by the Act.
“In addition, the Act also created a Host Communities Development Trust to be managed by Board of Trustees. As provided by the Act, 3% of profit from the operations of oil and gas businesses will be used for the development of the host communities.
“It is noteworthy that this is in addition to the existing 13% derivation to oil producing states and funds allocated to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which Mr. President has continuously emphasised that all the resources must be put to judicious use for the benefits of the people in the oil producing areas.
“Similarly, Part III, Section 9 (4) and (5) of the Petroleum Industry Act provides for the creation of “a Frontier Exploration Fund which shall be 30% of NNPC Limited’s profit oil and profit gas as in the production sharing, profit sharing and risk service contracts.”
“This is a provision made to ensure that NNPC Limited transfer 30% to the Frontier Exploration Fund dedicated for the development of oil exploration activities in all parts of the country subject to appropriation by the National Assembly. This provision will guarantee exploration activities in the country beyond discretionary decisions of the management of the new NNPC Limited.”
While thanking the leadership of the National Assembly for their tenacity in passing the Bill, Bagudu expressed confident that democratic engagements based on strategic considerations of legislative proposals in the National Assembly to make or review existing laws, “the Nigerian economy will be fully restructured.
“We join all Nigerians to celebrate this important achievement in the operations and management of Nigerian oil and gas sector. We also want to use this opportunity to congratulate members of the two Chambers of the National Assembly for the successful passage of the PIB. Without the cooperation of members of the National Assembly, in particular the leadership, with all the discordant voices around the debate leading the passage of the PIB, the new law would have been aborted, as was the case in the past.
“Even critics of our party, APC, and our governments cannot ignore the fact that the coming into law of the Petroleum Industry Act is an important democratic milestone. It signposts the commitment of our party and our government to develop the oil and gas sector and resolve all the challenges associated with the operations of the sector. With the new Act, there should be remarkable improvement in revenue collection from the oil and gas sector. This is expectedly the Next Level governance initiatives our party has promised Nigerians during the 2019 campaigns.
“We remain committed to a democratic process of negotiating the reform of our Republic to make it more responsive to the needs of Nigerians. Similarly, we are indeed more confident that the ongoing process of Constitutional Amendment in the National Assembly, will produce more reforms of the structures of the Nigerian economy.
“Accordingly, the PGF would continue to collaborate with the National Assembly and the federal government to mobilise public understanding to accelerate the process of change in the country. Through our engagements with the leadership of the National Assembly we would also continue to provide all the needed support to enhance the already existing synergy between both the executive and legislative arms of government. We will continue to draw lessons from President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership and take all the necessary steps to replicate it in our respective states.”