Fred Itua, Abuja
In an unexpected twist, the National Assembly, yesterday, passed the harmonised version of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) and imposed a five per cent fuel levy on fuel sold to Nigerians across the country.
According to lawmakers, the five per cent would be used to finance the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), as established under the bill.
Section 36 (1) (a) of the bill reads that “there shall be established the Petroleum Equalisation Fund into which shall be paid all monies payable to the equalisation fund by way of a five percent fuel levy in respect of all fuel sold and distributed within the federation which shall be charged subject to the approval of the Minister (of Petroleum.)”
According to the bill, other sources of funding for the PEF would be through subventions, fees and charges for services rendered as well as net surplus revenues recovered from petroleum products marketing companies.
The PEF, according to the bill, “shall collect all revenues and levies charged; determine the net surplus revenue recoverable from any oil marketing company and accruing to that company from the sale by it of petroleum products at such uniform prices as may be fixed by the Minister; determine the amount of reimbursement due to any oil marketing company for purposes of equalisation of price of products among others.”
The Bill also provided for the governance and institutional framework for the petroleum industry.
The PIGB specifically gave nod to “unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), provide for the establishment of Federal Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated, Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Nigerian Petroleum Assets Management Company and National Petroleum Company and Petroleum Equalisation Fund.”
The regulatory bill has unbundled the NNPC and created the National Petroleum Commission (NPC).
It has scrapped the Petroleum Inspectorate, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and established the Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission, which will take over the functions of the three agencies.
It has empowered the Commission “to administer and enforce policies, laws and regulations relating to all aspects of petroleum operation; monitor and enforce compliance with the terms and conditions of all leases, licences, permits and authorisations issued in respect of any petroleum operations; define and enforce approved standards for design, construction, fabrication, operation and maintenance for all plants, installations and facilities utilized or to be utilised in petroleum operations; establish, monitor, regulate and enforce health and safety measures relating to all aspects of petroleum operations; establish the framework for the validation and certification of national hydrocarbon reserves; advise the Minister on fiscal and other issues pertaining to the petroleum industry; undertake evaluation of national reserves and reservoir management studies.”
It has also empowered “the body to issue licences, permits or authorisations for downstream gas, petroleum products, storage depots, retail outlets, transportation and distribution facilities for the industry.”