Stakeholders query competences of PIA Steering Committee

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Why Shell struggles to do business in Nigeria - Businessday NG

Olusola Bello

Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry have expressed  concern over the ability of the Steering  Committee  inaugurated by the Federal Government to successfully implement the Petroleum Industry Act  in such a way  that the industry would to turn out to  be what Nigerians and other stakeholders expect it to be.

 They queried the technical capability of some of the members of the committee and said except there are technically sound subcommittees that would be set up, the whole exercise would be tantamount wasting of time and energy.

A former managing director of Treasure Energy Resources, and also former External Relation Manager of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production, (SNEPCO), Eddy Wikina, while commending the efforts of the president, Muhammadu Buhari  for ensuring that the bill becomes an Act, said: “ I have seen the list of the steering committee members. I want to commend the president for taking quick action to follow up signing the PIB into law, now the PIA. This shows government is serious about the driving the changes needed to reposition the industry and hopefully bring about some needed clarity and transparency. Having made this observation, it is absurd however, that the committee is not representative of the full spectrum of the key stakeholders, input particular the industry, the state government and oil producing/bearing communities.”

“Committee made of bureaucrats and we hope they will have access to resources and power needed to hasten delivery on the mandate, and not play usual games self service, delays and corruption associated with government agencies. If the president means well, the committee should put in their best to deliver.”

“The committee should advice the president on gaps that need to be on record and give a timetable to guide the national assembly on when to review and address concerns that are lingering, for example, the 3% host community trust fund and other associated matters.”

 

In his own reaction Dan Kunle, an Energy consultant, he said, the busy chosen are busy that would not enough time to attend the nitty gritty of what set up an industry that would meet the needs of the 21 century.

According to him, except if there would be subcommittees that are made up of technically competent people in diverse fields that would act dispassionately in the execution of the reform programme, otherwise the programme should be handed to Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE).

Dr Godswill Ihetu, chairman Chorus Energy, in his reaction, said, there are many aspects of the programme and it is possible that that the Steering Committee may bring in some technical people at the subcommittee levels to do the necessary details of the transformation. “At any rate, it is too early to judge the Steering Committee.”

The minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva inaugurated the Steering Committee for the Implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act.

The inauguration ceremony held on Thursday in Abuja, a day after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the constitution of the committee with a directive to immediately commence the implementation of the PIA.

“To get us started on this all-important assignment, I hereby inaugurate the Steering Committee, as well as the Implementation Working Group/Coordinating Secretariat, and wish us all success in our collective quest to change the face of the Nigerian petroleum industry, to position it as a proactive catalyst for spurring sustainable economic growth of our beloved country,” the minister told members of the committee.

“Given the timeline set by Mr President and the urgency of the implementation requirement, there is no gainsaying in the fact that total commitment to this assignment is a critical success factor.

“Undoubtedly, members of the steering committee possess the capacity to contribute to the transformation of the petroleum industry, and unlock the potentials that are replete in the entire value chain.”

Sylva urged the committee members to live up to their responsibility, saying a lot was expected of them from Nigerians and foreign stakeholders.

He stressed the need to do all that it takes to deliver on the assignment, in a manner that best achieves the collective vision for bringing the anticipated gains to the country.

According to the minister, the implementation working group/coordinating secretariat has the onerous task of developing the briefs that will be presented to the committee for consideration and approval.

He explained that the briefs would cover all the relevant subject matters contemplated by the law, including the design of the institutions, personnel movements, development of procedures and processes for the institutions, model contracts and regulations, and generally providing legal advice on implementation matters.

Sylva went on to reveal that the implementation working group/coordinating secretariat has been organised into four workstreams, to position the committee to get quality briefs.

He listed the workstreams to include legal, coordination and planning, communications and stakeholder management, as well as administration and finance.

“Each of these workstreams has distinct mandates and expected outcomes which will be presented to the steering committee for consideration and possible approval,” the minister said.

While approving the constitution of the committee, President Buhari had also directed that it has 12 months for the assignment.

He had decried that the lack of political will has hampered the growth of the industry, saying this has led to a loss of about $50 billion for the country in the last 10 years.

A lawyer, Olufemi Lijadu, is the External Legal Adviser, while the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) will serve as Head of the Co ordinating Secretariat and the Implementation Working Group.

Other members include Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr Sani Gwarzo; and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari.

Others are Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami; President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Natural Resources, Dr Nuhu Habib; as well as representatives of the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.

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