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President Muhammadu Buhari has requested that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 be amended.

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The proposed revision to the legislation follows proposals to enlarge the board of directors’ membership and address the issue of geographical balance in its membership, among other improvements.

The President’s appeal is contained in a letter submitted to the Senate and read aloud by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary on Tuesday on the floor of the National Assembly’s upper chamber in Abuja.

What the President is requesting for in the amendment

In a letter dated September 16, President Buhari indicated that the request for revision was necessary after carefully reviewing the administrative structures of both the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority and the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission.

The president is requesting amendments to three sections of the act: the appointment of non-executive board members, the removal of the Ministries of Petroleum Resources and Finance from the boards of the two institutions, and the appointment of executive directors.

Despite the PIA’s provision for the appointment of two non-executive directors, President Buhari is proposing an extension of the board’s membership to address the geopolitical zones.

“I am of the opinion that this membership limitation has not addressed the idea of balanced geopolitical representation of the country,” he wrote to MPs.

“I, therefore, pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity.

“Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision making of strategic institutions such as the oil industry.”

If approved, the President is hopeful that the amendment will increase the number of non-executive board members from 2 to 6, with each of the regions having a representation.

What you should know

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, on August 16, 2021, signed the PIA into law, after it was passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly in July and almost 20 years after it was first introduced, representing a significant milestone for Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

The Senate had a few days ago, underscored the need for the implementation committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure timely execution of the Petroleum Industry Act.

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