New PIB Strips President of Right to Share Oil Blocks But Empowers Petroleum Minister – The Cable

New PIB Strips President of Right to Share Oil Blocks But Empowers Petroleum Minister – The Cable

New PIB Strips President of Right to Share Oil Blocks But Empowers Petroleum Minister – The Cable

President Muhammadu Buhari will be unable to share oil blocks at his discretion if the new Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB is passed.

The new draft of the controversial petroleum industry bill (PIB) strips the president of the discretionary powers to allocate oil blocks, TheCable understands.

 The bill now confers the power to allocate petroleum exploration and production leases and licences to the Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPRC) which shall be established under the act. The final draft of the new bill, “Petroleum industry governance and institutional framework bill 2015”, available to TheCable, which was concluded on December 2, 2015, limits the power of the president to appoint members of the board of the regulatory commission.

The bill aims to promote transparency and accountability in the administration of the petroleum resources of Nigeria, while creating a conducive business environment for petroleum industry operations. The new draft, which mentions the senate only twice, says the upper chamber would be responsible for the ratification of governing board members appointed by the president.

“The appointment to the board in respect of persons appointed pursuant to paragraphs (a) to (d) of this section shall be made by the President subject to confirmation of the senate,” the bill reads. “The chairman and non-executive commissioner shall be persons of high integrity and substantial professional experience; in appointing the chairman and the non-executive commissioner, the president shall have due regard to a fair representation of the technical, legal and commercial interest.” The initial PIB, which has been stuck in the national assembly for nearly a decade, conferred discretionary powers on the president to allocate oil blocks in addition to competitive open bidding. As recently as 2012, the PIB presented before the national assembly said “notwithstanding the provisions of the subsection (3) of section 190 or any other provision of this act, the President shall have the power to grant a license or lease under the act”.

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