President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved a nine-member steering committee to oversee the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Timipre Sylva, minister of state, Petroleum Resources heads the committee and has 12 months to complete its assignment.
President Buhari gave the approval shortly before the start of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, held at the First Lady Conference Room in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to a statement by the special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, other members are permanent secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, group managing director, NNPC, executive chairman, FIRS, representative of the Ministry of Justice, representative of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, senior special assistant to the President on Natural Resources, Barrister Olufemi Lijadu as external legal adviser, while the executive secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, will serve as head of the Coordinating Secretariat and the Implementation Working Group.
The president’s spokesman noted that “the primary responsibility of the steering committee shall be to guide the effective and timely implementation of the PIA in the course of transition to the petroleum industry envisaged in the reform program, and ensure that the new institutions created have the full capability to deliver on their mandate under the new legislation.
He added, “The committee has a 12 months duration for the assignment, and periodic updates will be given to Mr. President.”
Buhari, who met with the leadership of the National Assembly led by the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, before the FEC meeting, said other ministries, departments, and agencies have also been tasked to work with the Minister of state for petroleum towards successful completion of the implementation process.
He further noted that the lack of political will has hampered the growth of the industry.
He added that in the last 10 years, the country has lost about $50 billion but the new Act will coordinate the activities of the NNPC and reposition it for further progress.
Meanwhile the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan cautions against tampering or manipulation in the disbursement of the three percent (500 million dollars) compensation which accrues to host communities by the appointed persons, urging the prudent deployment of the money, specifically earmarked to engender development in the host communities and end their suffering.
Lawan, who spoke to State House Correspondents after the President’s statement on the PIA, urged Nigerians not to focus on the grievances as a result of the new act but remain optimistic that the act (which can be amended) will be implemented.
He equally expressed confidence that the PIA will further incentivize greater investment in the sector.