By Akpobor Jirue, Abuja
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, on Thursday inaugurated the Petroleum Industry Act’s (PIA), implementation Committee.
The inauguration is coming a day after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the constitution of the committee with a directive to immediately commence the implementation of the PIA.
Speaking at the ceremony, the minister said the task before the committee is critical, stressing that its aim is to serve as a proactive catalyst for spurring the nation’s petroleum industry into sustainable economic growth.
Addressing committee members, he said, “To get us started on this all-important assignment, I hereby inaugurate the Steering Committee, as well as the Implementation Working Group/Coordinating Secretariat, and wish us all success in our collective quest to change the face of the Nigerian petroleum industry, to position it as a proactive catalyst for spurring sustainable economic growth of our beloved country.
“Given the timeline set by Mr President and the urgency of the implementation requirement, there is no gainsaying in the fact that total commitment to this assignment is a critical success factor.
“Undoubtedly, members of the steering committee possess the capacity to contribute to the transformation of the petroleum industry, and unlock the potentials that are replete in the entire value chain.”
Sylva urged the committee members to live up to their responsibility, saying a lot is expected of them from Nigerians and foreign stakeholders.
He stressed the need to do all that it takes to deliver on the assignment, in a manner that best served the collective vision for bringing the anticipated gains to the country.
According to the minister, the implementation working group/coordinating secretariat has the onerous task of developing the briefs that will be presented to the committee for consideration and approval.
He explained that the briefs would cover all the relevant subject matters contemplated by the law, including the design of the institutions, personnel movements, development of procedures and processes for the institutions, model contracts and regulations, and generally providing legal advice on implementation matters.
Sylva went on to reveal that the implementation working group/coordinating secretariat has been organised into four workstreams, to position the committee to get quality briefs.
He listed the workstreams to include legal, coordination and planning, communications and stakeholder management, as well as administration and finance.
“Each of these workstreams has distinct mandates and expected outcomes which will be presented to the steering committee for consideration and possible approval,” the minister said.
While approving the constitution of the committee, President Buhari had also directed that it has 12 months for the assignment.
He decried the lack of political will which to him has hampered the growth of the industry, saying this has led to a loss of about $50 billion for the country in the last 10 years.
A lawyer, Olufemi Lijadu, is the External Legal Adviser, while the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) will serve as Head of the Coordinating Secretariat and the Implementation Working Group.
Other members include the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr Sani Gwarzo; and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari.
Others are Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami; President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Natural Resources, Dr Nuhu Habib; as well as representatives of the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.