An advocacy and policy monitoring group, BudgIT, has highlighted the progress so far made in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), since it was signed into law and urged the Federal Government to ensure the timely implementation of all its provisions.
Speaking on government’s recent decision to suspend subsidy removal, BudgIT’s Extractive Lead, Adejoke Akinbode, said: “The current cost of petroleum subsidy to Nigeria along with other socio-economic implications necessitates its removal. Nevertheless, a couple of palliative measures should be in place for the subsidy removal to gain public acceptance.
“BudgIT will keep Nigerians abreast of the implementation progress, but in the meantime, we urge the Federal Government to ensure the transparent implementation of the PIA and conduct the entity’s operations in line with its mandate.
He explained that after over two decades, the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) finally became law when President Muhammadu Buhari signed it in August 2021.
It would be recalled that the PIA was meant to promote transparency, good governance and accountability in the country’s petroleum resources administration, as well as encourage local and foreign investments.
But despite the high expectations, the PIA has been met with mixed reactions, especially in oil-producing communities, necessitating urgent advocacy and engagements to increase public enlightenment, promote conversations and improve public perception of the PIA.
While stipulated timelines are specified for its implementation and operationalisation, the Federal Government has also taken necessary steps to take some necessary actions on it.
For instance, the former Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has been transformed into the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), while the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) also transited into the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).
Another notable action is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) transition into a limited liability company under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
The new company, unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 19, 2022, is now known as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited). For emphasis, NNPC Limited is saddled with coordinating the commercial aspect of the petroleum operations and engaging in the business of renewables and other energy investments.
With the development, the NNPC Limited will compete commercially with its peers in the oil industry and as such, the entity is expected to be above board in its operations.
“Regarding subsidy removal, the government has put on hold a critical aspect of the PIA, which is due for implementation. As for the specified timelines of the Act, this aspect should have been implemented six months after the passage of the PIA.
“However, the Federal Government extended the timeframe for the complete removal of fuel subsidy because it needed to put necessary structures in place to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal on Nigerians,” he said.