The National Assembly has been urged to avoid any delay and ensure the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as it is for the best interest of all Nigerians.
A Rivers State government-owned oil exploration and production company, Treasure Energy Resources Limited’s (TERL), Managing Director, Dr. Eddie Wikina made the call in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, Thursday.
According to Dr. Wikina, unbundling the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and transforming it into a commercial entity with more effective independent policy and regulatory units is core to the PIB and would bring about a reduction in the abuses and corruption that have plagued the oil and gas industry.
The oil and gas industry guru also noted that the PIB is expected to ensure that the interest of host communities are adequately addressed and for the best interest of all Nigerians and the Niger delta in particular, which bears the brunt of oil exploration and exploitation over some decades now.
It would be recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) during its weekly meeting on Wednesday presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, gave the approval for the new draft of the PIB.
The bill, which is an amalgamation of 16 laws in the oil and gas sector has been in the pipeline for almost 15 years.
The National Assembly is expected to receive the bill in the next fews days after few observations and inputs made during the meeting have been effected.
The draft bill seeks to unbundled the NNPC into five different companies which are National Oil Company, National Asset Management Corporation, National Frontier Exploration Services and the Host Community Fund.
Throwing more light on the bill at the end of the meeting, the Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke said: “The new bill looks at new areas that were quite critical and, first of all, they are the inspectorate, the regulatory agencies for the oil and gas sector to ensure that they are independent and that they can actually do the regulations.
We also looked, of course, at the unbundling of NNPC which has been very critical, created out of the old NNPC, a National Oil Company which will be independent, it will be a registered company which will have shareholding and will be ceded acreages.
As we implement the PIB, we will take over current infrastructure in the oil and gas sector, refineries, depots and certain down-stream entitles as well as production sharing contracts, she emphasized.
“I will assure you that for the next few years, we will have a continuum in that particular enterprise, which I have always said, is very critical if we are going to continue indeed to diversify our hydrocarbon base in the country.
The Petroleum Minister also said existing paratatals such as Petroleum Trust Development Fund, Petroleum Equalisation Fund, the Petroleum Training Institute, the National Content Development Management Board would continue to exist until they are no longer necessary.
‘NNPC Spent N15b To Reconstruct Lagos-Badagry Expressway’
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) has disbursed N15 billion for the reconstruction of the Lagos Badagry Expressway under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure Tax Credit (RITC) Scheme.
The N15 billion represents a 100 per cent payment of the funding of the Lagos-Badagry Road rehabilitation under the tax credit funding of the NNPC Ltd.
Group Chief Executive, NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, made this known when he led NNPC’s management team with some top government officials to inspect the ongoing rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway (Agbara Junction-Nigeria/Benin Border).
The road under rehabilitation is being funded by the NNPC Ltd. under the Federal Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
The execution of the scheme is being carried out in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as the supervisor and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for NNPC’s tax obligations deductions.
This is in response to address the plight faced by petroleum products marketers in transportation which affects nationwide distribution.
Kyari said the fund disbursed was part of the N621.24 billion earmarked for the reconstruction of 21 roads nationwide under the scheme.
He expressed satisfaction over the stage of the road development.
“We are covering 1,804.6mkm across the country and taking another set of over a trillion naira investment on infrastructure in Nigeria, believing that with the tax credit system which Mr President has put in place, very soon there will be massive change.
“NNPC as the enabler will consider from its cash flow and fund whatever FIRS and Ministry of works approve for the company”, he said.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, represented by the Director, Highways, Roads and Rehabilitation of the Ministry, Mr Folorunsho Esan, said the intervention of the NNPC sped up the reconstruction of the expressway.
Esan said the project was 40 per cent completed.
“In the next 12 months we should be able to deliver this project because the drainages are in place, just for earth works and pavement works, it cannot take us more than 12 months,” he said.
Speaking on the gridlock being caused by the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project, he said the contractor would clear all impediments and move out of site by December 15 to make the highway free for Yuletide.
Oil Marketers Urge Buhari To Crash Diesel Price
Petroleum marketers under the platform of Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) rose from their 2nd National Executive Council (NEC) meeting last week, within a plea to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make dollars available at official rate to oil marketers.
This, they said, will enable them import diesel, end petrol scarcity, and ultimately save the Nigerian economy from sinking, saying that dollar support should be available till Dangote Refinery comes on stream later in the year.
The association, among others, urged the National Assembly to immediately enact a Bill for the establishment of Energy Bank for easy transaction in petroleum products in the sector.
National President of the Association, Mr Benneth Korie, who briefed the media after the NEC meeting in Abuja, noted that the bulk of the operational challenge peppering marketers and depot owners spring from expensive diesel which hovers around N850/litre.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for approving a higher bridging cost payment to transporters, Korie said the operators’ challenges were far from over as oil marketers and depot owners spend about N20 million weekly on diesel to power their operations, thus eroding their profits.
The association urges the National Assembly to review the policy of taxation as it affects petroleum products supply and distribution chain.
Senate To Honour Brave Petrol Tanker Driver
The Senate has resolved to honour Ejiro Otarigho, the brave tanker driver who drove a burning tanker from danger zone to avert a tragic fire incident in Agbarho, Delta State.
The Senate has also recommended Ejiro to President Muhammadu Buhari for National Honours.
This followed a motion moved by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, and co-sponsored by Senator James Manager and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, at plenary.
It would be recalled that in a rare act of bravery, Ejiro had last week driven a burning tanker from danger zone to avert what could have been a tragic fire incident in Agbarho, Delta State.
The incident happened last Friday when Ejiro drove the burning truck for 25 minutes from a densely populated area to Agbarho River where the tanker was completely razed in the inferno. The act was captured by onlookers and had gone viral.
Rising under Order 45 and 52 of the Senate Standing Order 2021 (as amended), Senator Omo-Agege stressed that but for Ejiro’s courage, a major fire disaster which would have claimed several lives and property could have happened in his senatorial district.
The Delta Central lawmaker noted that Ejiro’s “extraordinary display of courage, reflex application of special driving skills, and huge risk to his own life, prevented a huge national tragedy and catastrophe by driving a burning tanker loaded with inflammable petroleum products from residential areas to safety so that thousands of our people may not die in an inferno that would also have consumed so much property in Agbarho, Delta State on Friday, June 10, 2022”.
The driver’s audacious act of heroism, he stressed, has saved the nation from national tragedy and mourning.
Accordingly, the Senate resolved to “invite Mr. Ejiro Otarigho to the Chamber of the Senate for public commendation by the President of the Senate, Senator Ibrahim Lawan.
“Recommend Mr. Ejiro Otarigho to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, for a befitting National Honour as Mr. President may deem fit for his extraordinary act of bravery, courage and skill that prevented the loss of human lives and property on a massive scale”.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who presided over plenary, hailed the driver for risking his life to drive the burning truck out of residential area to save lives.
News5 days ago
New Militant Group Emerges In N’Delta, Threatens Polls
Politics5 days ago
Outcome Of 2023 Polls Not Predictable – US Agency
News3 days ago
CSO Raises Concern As Out-Of-School Children Jump To 18.5m
Politics3 days ago
2023: INEC Reviews Level Of Preparedness
Sports5 days ago
Osaji, Edwards Shines At Junior Tennis Tourney
Business5 days ago
‘Inflation Weakens Naira By 15%’
News3 days ago
LGA Boss Vows To Deliver Fubara, Others In Rivers
Niger Delta5 days ago
Diri Condemns Political Violence, Warns Monarchs, Youths