President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to remove the ministers of Finance and Petroleum from the board of the soon-to-be incorporated board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.)
The request is contained in his letter seeking an amendment to the recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
He also asked the Senate to confirm appointments made for the boards of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and two other federal agencies.
These are the Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority..
The President on Sunday named a nine-member board for the NNPC Ltd headed by Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
The President’s letter titled “Forwarding administrative structure amendments to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 was read to Senators by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during yesterday’s plenary.
He listed three sections of the PIA that he wants to be amended as 11(2)(b) and 34(2)(b); 11(2)(f-g) and 34(2)(f-g); as well as 11(3).
The President explained in the letter that amendments to the sections were needed to make for seamless administrative structure in the Act.
He also cited unbalanced geo-political representation as a reason for his request to remove the ministers of Finance and Petroleum from the NNPC Ltd. board.
A part of the letter reads:: “I wish to forward to the Senate the attached Administrative Structure Amendments of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 for your kind consideration and approval.
“Having carefully reviewed the administrative structure of both the Commission and the Authority; I would like to propose the following amendments to the PIA 2021:
“Appointment of non-executive board members: 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, I 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 this amendment is approved, it will now increase the number of the non-executive members from two to six that is one person from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“Removal of the Ministries 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 a 44 percent expansion of the board site.
“This composition would strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread and also achieve the expected policy contributions.
“The two ministries 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 institution.
“This may bring some complications in some decision making especially on issues of staff-related matters.
“Appointment of Executive Directors: 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 obviously be filled by the workers in the authority.”
Also yesterday, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said in a statement that the names of the EFCC, the Upstream Regulatory Commission, and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority board members were contained in another letter to the Senate
Adesina’s statement partly reads: “Nominees for the EFCC board are; George Abang Ekpungu from Cross River State(secretary); Lukman Muhammed, (Edo); Anumba Adaeze (Enugu); Alhaji Kola Adesina (Kwara); and Alhaji Yahaya Muhammad (Yobe).
“For the upstream Regulatory Commission, Isa Ibrahim Modibbo is nominated as chairman; Gbenga Komolafe, chief executive; Hassan Gambo, executive commissioner in charge of Finance and Accounts; and Rose C. Ndong, executive commissioner, Exploration and Acreage Management.
“Chairman nominee of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority is Idaere Gogo Ogan; Sarki Auwalu, chief executive; Abiodun Adeniji, executive director in charge of Finance and Accounts; and Ogbugo Ukoha, executive director, Distributions Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure.”