A provision in the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill, which recommended that the Federal Government should hold 100 per cent shares in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, has received a knock from the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).
The Presidential Economic Advisory Council, set up by the President in 2019, is charged with the responsibility of advising the President on economic policy matters including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies.
During a presentation at its sixth regular meeting with the President, the PEAC faulted the said provision and instead canvassed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation should be commercialised.
In the same vein, the Council opposed another provision in the PIB that recommended two regulators for the industry, saying one regulator was enough.
Arguing further on its recommendation for NNPC commercialisation, the Council said the ideal position is to “prepare the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for Initial Public Offer so the enterprise can raise its own funding. Board composition should have more independent members for governance.”
In a related development, the PEAC, while commenting on the deregulation of petroleum product prices, said the ideal situation is that deregulation is key to stimulating investment. To avoid price shocks, a transitional arrangement can be included and such arrangement must specify timeline to end price regulation.
According to the Council, Nigeria should identify key strategic projects that will enable achievement of the various objectives ranging from increased oil production through expansion of gas pipelines.
The Council also advocated an accelerated approval of the bill, so that before the end of tenure of the current regime, investment decisions can be taken.