The long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which seeks to split the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into two independent entities, has passed second reading at the senate.
The PIB, which was first introduced in 2008 but failed to make progress during the 6th and 7th assemblies, passed the second stage, and was referred to the committee on petroleum (upstream and downstream) for more legislative work after a brief debate on it.
The bill, sponsored by Tayo Alasoadura, a senator from Ondo central and chairman senate committee on petroleum (upstream), seeks the splitting of the NNPC into Nigerian Petroleum Assets Management and the National Oil Company.
Mr. Alasoadura explained that the objective of the bill was to create efficient institutions, and to promote transparency in the administration of petroleum resources in the country.
His words: ”This bill provides for the unbundling of the NNPC into two independent entities, which are the National Petroleum Company (NPC) and National Asset Management Company.”
“It also provides for the establishment of a single petroleum regulatory commission which will focus mainly on regulating the industry.
“The poor performance of the NNPC is a major concern. The commercialisation of the corporation and its splitting into two entities is for more efficiency and to enhance performance.”
Quite a number of senators, including Bernabas Gemade (APC – Benue) and James Manager (PDP – Delta), spoke in support of the bill before the Senate resolved via voice vote to pass the bill for second reading.
The Senate President Bukola Saraki also said the next part of the bill would focus on the petroleum producing communities.