The Federal Government has inaugurated a technical committee to review the controversial Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 and its implications on the statutory responsibilities of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
This is coming as stakeholders in the Niger Delta continue to kick against it because of the paltry three percent to host communities in the region.
On Sunday, September 5,, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State added his voice to the protest by dsdescribing the PIA which was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari as evil and oppressive to people of the Niger Delta.
The governor stated that the three percent allotted to host communities in the Act would continue to be opposed until justice was served, stressing that the passage of the bill was a slap on the face on the Ijaws and Niger Delta people, especially against the backdrop of the 30 percent allotted for frontier exploration in basins that were more in the northern part of the country.
READ ALSO : Buhari Signs Petroleum Industry Bill Into Law
But the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, inaugurated the committee headed by the ministry’s Director, Legal Services, Muhammed Alhassan.
The committee has the mandate to: “Review the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 and its implication on the Oil and Gas Export Permit being issued to exporters by Commi Rdttee For Economic Development;
“Review the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 in relation to the Weights and Measures ACT, and its implication on the Department;
“Highlight the implication of the Act on the roles of CED and Weights and Measures Departments under the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme;
“The committee is also saddled with the responsibility of suggesting appropriate strategy to use in bringing the NESS scheme to the Ministry since the scheme is about exports, which is a core mandate of the Ministry.
“It is also expected to suggest ways to remedy the infractions on the responsibilities of the Ministry, if any; and prepare relevant letters to the Office of the President and the National Assembly”
The Minister went further to state that the review became necessary as the Act tampered significantly with some of the statutory roles of his ministry.
He said: “As a Ministry, some of our roles as they relate to the administration of the Pre-shipment inspection and the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme had hitherto been under the Ministry of Finance, and are now under the new commission under the Petroleum Industry Act”.
He stressed the need by the ministry to leverage the window provided by the review of the Act to enable it to play a more significant role under the scheme in line with its mandate.
“Therefore, your Technical committee is expected to take a professional look at the document, come up with strategies that will help redress the identified issues.
“There is a sense of urgency in the execution of your assignment so that we can seek the amendment of the infractions on the statutory functions of the Ministry, especially through a request to relevant institutions of government.
“It is important to state that your assignment is critical to the continuity of some of our roles as a Ministry.
“I am confident in the quality of members chosen to undertake this assignment, therefore I task you all to make far-reaching recommendations that will help sustain and stabilize our operations,” he added.
The committee which comprises directors in the ministry was given two weeks to submit its report.