………by Ben Ndubuwa……..
President Mohammadu Buhari has been advised to give up the position of the Minister of Petroleum in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in order to ensure that the impact and implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) are effective and sustainable in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Speaking on Arise Television over the weekend, Prof. Wunmi Iledare said there is also the need for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to be restructured in other to give the Ministry the needed structure to operate inline with the new PIA.
According to Prof. Iledare, the implementation committee headed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva should have been expanded to include professional who are on the job. This he said will go a long way to navigate through the various concerns that have been raised over the hurriedly signed PIA.
He went further to point out that the Constitution of the members of the committee is homogeneous trying to implement the PIA in a heterogeneous society. “This is a political power arrogance. The institution should be empowered not the individual” he said.
According to him the PIB signed into law was not the original and envisioned industry Act. Being a member of the advisory committee of the PIB before it was signed into law, he noted that a lot may have been doctored to favour the multinational oil companies who had severally gone through the backdoor to negotiate for a favourable PIA.
This he said had resulted to a PIA not structured as it should have been; considering posterity and future of the country as well as that of the oil and gas industry. “Rather the PIA seem to be that of a prosperity now” he said.
However, Prof Iledara commended the signing of the PIB into law saying it is an accomplishment worth celebrating.”Half bread is better than none” he said. But called on the National Assembly to go back again to take a second look at the PIA.
Prof. Iledare is a professor of Petroleum economic and also the former President of Nigeria Association of Energy Economic (NAEE) and is currently serving as Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Chair in Oil and Gas Studies at the University of Cape Coast’s Oil and Gas Institute, Ghana.
On the way forward for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that will soon become a commercial entity, Prof. lledare said that though it depends on the operational strategy the company will deploy. ” Hopefully government is not going to look at NNPC as cash cow,; doing social optimization of welfare and coming to rescue government based on their energy security issues” he said.
According to him, the role of NNPC should be close to what is obtained with Saudi Arabia Aramco. Something close to concessionary and contractual arrangement but not pure service contract like Aramco. “Federal government should allow NNPC to operate Independent of political power structure of our compromised system” he further advised. Adding that though this cannot be predicted.