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Sylva inaugurates committee to implement PIA

THE Steering Committee for the Implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has been inaugurated by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.

The committee was inaugurated in a ceremony held on Thursday in Abuja, a day after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the constitution of the committee with a directive to immediately commence the implementation of the PIA.

“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,” the minister told members of the committee.

“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.”

The minister urged the committee members to live up to their responsibility, saying a lot was 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 achieves the collective vision for bringing the anticipated gains to the country.

According to Sylva, 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.

The minister 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.

President Buhari had also directed that it has 12 months for the assignment while approving the constitution of the committee.

The President had decried that the lack of political will 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 committee members include 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 include 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 Finance, Budget, and National Planning, and Ministry of Justice.

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