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President Muhammadu Buhari Writes to the National Assembly Seeking Amendments to the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021

President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the Senate and the House of Representatives requesting an amendment to the Administrative Structure of the Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

In the letters which were read at the plenary session of Tuesday, 21 September 2021 in the Senate by the President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmad Lawan (APC: Yobe), and in the House of Representatives by the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila (APC: Lagos), President Buhari informed lawmakers that his amendments focused on the provisions that deals with the:

  1. Appointment of Non-Executive Board Members;
  2. Removal of the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance from the Board of the two Institutions; and
  3. Appointment of Executive Directors

On the provisions dealing with the “Appointment of Non-Executive Board Members”,President Buhari explained that the appointment of 2 Non-Executive Members for the Board of these institutions as stated in the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, did not address the principle of balanced geopolitical representation. Hence an amendment to increase the Membership from 2 to 6, one person from each geopolitical zone, will provide a sense of participation and inclusion in the decision-making process of the oil industry.

For the provisions on “Removal of the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance from the Board of the two Institutions”,President Buhari stated that the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance already have constitutional role of either supervision or inter-governmental relations which can be performed without being a part of the Board.

PLACFurthermore, President Buhari noted that the provisions which deals with the “Appointment of Executive Directors” will be amended in order to subject the confirmations to the Senate. In addition, he mentioned that the categories of officers who will be appointed to the offices of the Executive Directors will be civil servants and not political appointees, as this will ensure effective management of these regulatory institutions through the implementation of public service rules for employees.

The key sections on the Administrative Structure of the Commission and Authority to be amended in the Petroleum Industry Act are as follows:

  • Section 11(2)(b) two non-executive commissioners” to be replaced with “six(6) nonexecutive members one each from the geopolitical zones”.
  • Section 34(2)(b) “two non-executive directors” to be replaced with “six (6) non-executive members one each from the six geopolitical zones”.
  • Section 11(2)(f) “one representative of the Ministry of Petroleum not below the rank of Director” – To be deleted.
  • Section 11(2)(g) “one representative of the Ministry of Finance not below the rank of Director” – To be deleted.
  • Section 34(2)(f) “one representative of the Ministry of Petroleum not below the rank of Director” – To be deleted.
  • Section 34(2)(g) “one representative of the Ministry of Finance not below the rank of Director” – To be deleted
  • Section 11(3) will be replaced with “Appointment to the Board of the Commission under section (2) of this section shall be made by the President. Appointment made pursuant to subsection (2)(a), (b), and (c) of this section shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate”
  • Section 34(3) will be replaced with “Appointment to the Board of the Authority under section (2) of this section shall be made by the President. Appointment made pursuant to subsection (2)(a), (b), and (c) of this section shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate”
  • Section 41(2) will be replaced with “There shall be five (5) Executive Directors for the Authority whose appointment shall comply with rules of the Federal Civil Service with each responsible for one of the following”

In his letter, President Buhari said that aforementioned amendments to the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, which focuses solely on the Administrative Structure of the Commission and the Authority is aimed at ensuring growth and enhancing efficiency.

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