f the new draft of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is passed by the National Assembly, the President will not have discretional powers to allocate oil blocks, it was gathered yesterday.
When it comes into effect, the Nigeria Petroleum Regulation Commission (NPRC) would solely enjoy such powers.
The agency would emerge with the PIB.
The final draft of the new bill, “Petroleum Industry Governance and Institutional Framework Bill 2015”, which was concluded on December 2, 2015, limits the power of the President to appoint members of the NPRC board.
The bill aims to promote transparency and accountability in the administration of the petroleum resources, while creating a conducive business environment for the industry operations.
The new draft, which mentions the Senate twice, says the Upper Chamber would be responsible for the ratification of the 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 commissioners shall be persons of high integrity and substantial professional experience; in appointing the chairman and the non-executive commissioners, the President shall have due regard to a fair representation of the technical, legal and commercial interests.”
The initial PIB, which had been stuck in the National Assembly for nearly a decade, conferred discretionary powers on the President to allocate oil blocks besides the 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 licence or lease under the Act”.
In the past dispensation, the minister of petroleum was distinctly different from the president, but with President Muhammadu Buhari as the substantive minister, he may perform the duties of the President and the minister. The bill grants the minister the power to control the oil blocks under the recommendation of the commission.