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Buhari wants PIA amended to remove ministers from boards of regulatory agencies

...Demand increase of non-executive members of agencies

President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the National Assembly, seeking an amendment to the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to remove the Ministers of Petroleum Resources and Finance from the boards of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

Buhari in a letter to the two chambers of the National Assembly; Senate and House of Representatives read by their presiding officers on Tuesday said the two Ministers can continue to perform their functions without necessarily being members of the boards of the regulatory agencies.

He said in the letter that the proposed amendment will increase the membership of each board from 9 to 13 members, representing 44 percent expansion of the board size and strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread as well as achieve the expected policy contributions.

“The two Ministers already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or inter-governmental relations. They can continue to perform such roles without being on the board.

“It is also important to note that administratively the representatives of the Ministries in the board will be Directors- being the same rank with the Directors in the institutions. This may bring some complications in some decision making especially on issues of staff-related matters”, the letter read in parts.

The President also in the letter sought the amendment of the PIA to increase the number of the Non-Executive members from two to six making provision for one person from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

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He said 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.

“The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 provided for the appointment of two non-executive members for the board of the two regulatory institutions. I am of the view that this membership limitation has not addressed the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country, therefore, pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity”, the stated.

Buhari further prayed the Senate to consider exempting the Executive Directors to be appointed for the government regulators for the petroleum sector who are serving public servants from the established confirmation process for political appointments.

“The Act has made provision for seven departmental heads in the authority to be known as executive directors. Their appointment will also be subject to Senate confirmation. This category of officers is civil servants and not political appointees.

“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 regulatory Institutions through the uniform implementation of public service rules for employees of the Authority. In the future, these positions will be filled by the workers in the Authority”, the letter further read.

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