Buhari Seeks Amendment To Petroleum Industry Act, Cites Federal Character,National Unity As Reasons

President Muhammadu Buhari, has written to the Senate National Assembly seeking to amend Petroleum Industry Act 2021, barely two months after assenting to the bill.

In what appears to be poor perusal of the bill turned Act after his assent, President Buhari in letter explained that the appointment of two non-executive members as provided for by the Act to the board of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NPRA) and Upstream Regulatory Commission (URC) does not reflect balanced geopolitical representation.

Buhari is now requesting the amendment to Sections 11(2)(b) and 34(2)(b) which provides for the Administrative Structure of the PIA 2021, to increase the number of the non-executive members from two to six on the boards of the NPRA and URC.

According to him, doing so would foster national unity and “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”.

In addition, the President proposed a deletion of Sections 11(2)(f), 11(2)(g), 34(2)(f) and 34(2)(g) from the Petroleum Industry Act, which would see to the removal of the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance from the Board of the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Authority and Upstream Regulatory Commission.

He explained that, “the proposed amendment will increase the membership of the board from nine (9) to thirteen (13) members that is representing 44 percent expansion of the board size.

“This composition would strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread and also achieve the expected policy contributions.

“The two ministries 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 not that administratively, the representatives of the ministries in the board will be Directors – being same rank with Directors in the institution. This may bring some complications in some decision making especially on issues of staff related matters.”

He is also seeking an amendment to Sections 11(3) and 34(3) to be replaced with a new section that provides that appointments to the Board of the Commission or Authority under section 2 shall be made by the President, while those made pursuant to subsection (2)(a), (b) and (c) of section shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

The President further requested that Section 41(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act be replaced with a new section as “there shall be five (5) executive directors for the Authority whose appointment shall comply with the rules of the Federal Civil Service,” he said.

The amendments are a confirmation that the President hurriedly assented to the bill without proper home work by him and his team.

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