President Muhammadu Buhari has written the National Assembly to seek administrative structure amendments of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and confirmation of appointments into the board of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority. This amendment was necessary towards achieving geopolitical balancing in representation on the non-Executive Board.
The letter read on Tuesday by President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, stated:
“Having carefully reviewed the administrative structure of both the commission and authority, I will like to propose the following amendments to the PIA.
“(a) Appointment of non-executive board members. The PIA provided for the appointment of two non-executive members for the board of the two institutions. I am of the view that this membership initiates limitations and does not address the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country.
“I, therefore, pray for the intervention of the ninth assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of national unity. Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion for almost every section of the country in the decision making of strategic institutions, such as the oil industry. If this amendment is approved, it will now increase the number of non-executive members from two to six giving room for one person from each geo-political zone.
“(b) Removal of the ministers of petroleum and finance from the board of the two institutions. The proposed amendment will increase the membership of the board from nine to 13, that is, representing 44 per cent expansion on both sides. This competition will strengthen the institutions and also achieve the expected policy contributions.
“The two ministries already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or intergovernmental relations that will continue to perform such roles without being in the board. It is also important to note that administratively, the representatives of the ministries in the board will be directors in the same rank in the institutions
“(c) Appointment of executive directors. The Act has made provisions for seven departmental heads in the authority to be known as executive directors. The appointment will also be subject to Senate’s confirmation.
“The Senate is invited to note the need to exempt serving public officers from the established confirmation process for political appointments. This will ensure effective management of the revenue-generating institutions through the uniform implementation of public service roles for employees in the authority.”
According to the letter, the proposed amendments to the PIA is aimed at laying safe administrative structures governed by simple operational laws that will ensure smooth take-off and consequent growth and also in line with this administration’s commitment to carry out petroleum reforms.