Reps to strip president of ‘discretionary power’ over oil licenses

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The House of Representatives may vote to strip the office of the president of its discretionary power in the granting of of leases and oil licenses to operators in the Nigerian oil and gas industry based on the recommendation made by the House of Representative Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.

The Committee suggested an open and competitive bidding system in the allocation of oil blocks in order to ensure transparency.

The Committee also recommended the removal of Minister of Petroleum Resources as the chairman of the National Oil Company proposed to assume the duties of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other key industry agencies.

The Committee chaired by Hon. Ishake Bawa which submitted its report to the House on Thursday also recommend the stripping of minister of petroleum of the power to recommend to the President who to appoint as the chairmen ‎of the boards of agencies listed in the PIB.

The agencies include Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate Agency; Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency; Asset Management Corporation ; and any other corporate entity established by the Act (PIB).

The House is yet to consider and approve or reject the report.

But, the committee made far-reaching recommendations on many areas generating controversies in the oil and gas industry.

On the Petroleum Host Community Fund, the committee expanded the beneficiaries to include non-oil producing communities in the country.

In the new recommendations, communities where pipelines pass through or have depots and refineries, will now benefit from oil revenues.

“In the bill, a new Section 118 cover‎s both upstream and downstream sectors.

“This innovation is intended to allay the raging distrust between oil-producing and non-producing communities in the country,” the report explained.

A Frontier Oil Services Agency is recommended to step up exploration activities in already identified oil basins like Sokoto, Anambra, Benue, Bida, Benin and Chad.

The agency is to be funded through taxes from oil production operations and “national budgetary allocations in dual funding strategy aimed at strengthening the agency and its operations.”

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