The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, said on Friday in Abuja that the final version of the revised Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be ready for submission to the National Assembly in the next 10 to 14 days.
She disclosed this in an interview with the State House correspondents shortly after submitting the revised Bill to the President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa.
Allison-Madueke said the President, after receiving the Bill, directed her ministry in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to carry out a final overview and present same to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
She said the entire process of the review and presentation before FEC would be completed in good time, assuring that the revised Bill would be forwarded to the legislative arm for passage.
``I am very pleased to say that the Special Task Force on the PIB and the PIB Technical Committee have today submitted their report to myself and Mr President with other stakeholders from government and the industry present as well.
``The work has taken over a period of in totality of about six months because of the extensive revision of the Bill that has been done.
``A lot of details have gone in to it, we have looked into fiscal regime, we have looked at the reconfiguration of NNPPC to ensure that going forward, it becomes the commercial entity that it should have been all along.
``And we have looked at other administrative roles within the entire gamut of the sector as well. I think that the teams have done a very good job.
``At this point, Mr President has directed that the Ministry of Petroleum now takes the Bill and along with the relative government stakeholders do the final overview and prepare it for presentation to the Federal Executive Council.’’
The Minister said the new Bill re-configured various sections of the industry including the fiscal and the templates for various calculations.
She said the issues of domestic gas, fiscal regime for domestic gas and the reconfiguration of the NNPC were critically examined and incorporated in the revised PIB.
``The intention is to ensure that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is actually a professionally run ministry and that it engages professionals in the oil and gas sector to work within the ministry which is not the case at all now.
``We want to ensure that like other agencies of government, there are professionals in the ministry itself so that the ministry is not dependant solely on its technical status.’’
The Minister noted that the Bill was critical to the development of the oil and gas sector, adding that government would do its best to ensure its prompt passage.
``Nigerians should understand that we have been in a hurry for a long time to put this Bill out.
``We will try to ensure that by the time it enters the National Assembly, we are very comfortable with it and we are putting forward a bill that we believe the oil and gas sector can stand on and can grow on for many years to come in this country.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that in 2000, former President Olusegun Obasanjo began the process for addressing the various challenges in the petroleum sector by constituting the first Oil and Gas Reform Implementation Committee (OGIC) .
The committee recommended the need to separate commercial institutions in the sector from the regulatory and policy making institutions.
Specifically, the committee said that the demarcation would entrench good governance, transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.
In 2007, Late President Umaru Yar’Adua reconstituted the committee under the chairmanship of former Petroleum Minister, Alhaji Rilwan Lukman.
The Lukman-led committee was tasked to use the provisions of the National Oil and Gas Policy to set up legal, regulatory, and institutional structures for managing the oil and gas sector.
The Lukman Report, which was submitted in 2008, formed the basis for the first Petroleum Industry Bill (HB 159) that was submitted as an Executive Bill same year.
The controversy raised by the Bill prompted the composition of a federal inter�agency team, headed by the former NNPC Group General Manager on Strategy, Mr Tim Okon, to review the Bill.
The team’s report, which was submitted in 2010, also generated controversies which led to different versions of the Bill before the National Assembly.
NAN reports that because of the importance of the Bill to the development of the sector, the Jonathan administration established a Special Task Force and Technical Committee on the PIB, which came up with the revised Bill.