The granting of “excessive” powers to the Minister of Petroleum Resources as proposed in the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has been faulted by the oil and gas producing areas of the Niger Delta.
Making their stance known at a public hearing on the proposed legislation organized by the Joint Senate Committees on Petroleum Upstream, downstream, Gas, Judiciary and Legal Matters in Abuja yesterday, the host communities through their chairman Dr. Alfred Bubor, said the PIB “should not be made to be a Personal Industry Bill for upcoming petroleum ministers.”
“This huge concentration of so much power in one person, office or government functionary is not in the best interest of the industry, the nation; if previous experiences with the ministry is anything to go by,” said Dr. Bubor.
The Bayelsa State government in its submission to the panel also said: “The PIB grants extensive powers to the minister of petroleum resources, much of which is discretionary. We are concerned that the overall concentration of mostly unchecked powers in the hands of one official may engender an abuse of powers and may work to the detriment of Nigeria and of industry stakeholders”.
The Bayelsa State government maintained that powers granted to the minister including supervisory powers over regulatory institution, direct powers over operational aspects of the industry, powers over environmental matters, appointment or recommendation for appointment and making of regulations must not be allowed no matter how fitting they may be.