By Tunde Opalana
Following its presentation at plenary on Tuesday, the Petroleum Industry Bill, 2020 (SB.510) yesterday scaled first reading on the floor of the Senate chamber, Daily Times gathered.
After its presentation, the bill, sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi without objection passed first reading and awaits further legislative action.
The Daily Times recalled that during Tuesday plenary, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan read a letter from President Buhari in which he presented the PIB for consideration and passage into law.
He said the bill combines critical aspects of significant reforms in the industry which include a proposal for the creation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
The PIB proposes the scrapping of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.
The bill states that the NNPC Limited will be incorporated by the Minister of Petroleum, who together with his finance counterparts, will determine NNPC’s assets and liabilities that will be inherited by the new firm.
Section 54(1, 2 and3) of the PIB reads in part, “The Minister (of Petroleum) and the Minister of Finance shall determine the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC to be transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiaries and upon the identification, the minister shall cause such assets, interests and liabilities to be transferred to NNPC Limited.
“Assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC not transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiary under subsection 1 of this section shall remain the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC until they become extinguished or transferred to the government.
“NNPC shall cease to exist after its remaining assets, interests and liabilities other than its interests, assets, and liabilities transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiaries under subsection 1 of this section shall have been extinguished or transferred to the government.”
According to Section 53 of the bill, the minister shall “within six months from the commencement of this Act, cause to be incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act, a limited liability company, which shall be called Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC Limited).
“The minister shall be at the incorporation of NNPC Limited, consult with the Minister of Finance to determine the number and nominal value of the shares to be allotted which shall form the initial paid-up share capital of the NNPC Limited and the government shall subscribe and pay cash for the shares.
“Ownership of all shares in NNPC Limited shall be vested in the government at incorporation and held by the Ministry of Finance incorporated on behalf of the government.”
The bill also proposes the establishment of an agency known as the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission which will be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of upstream petroleum operations.
Section 4 of the bill states in part, “There is established the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (the commission) which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.