By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- STRONG indications have emerged that there is anxiety in the Senate over what the lawmakers describe as poor implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) five months after the law was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari
Soon after the Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream chaired by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan met with the Presidential Implementation Steering Committee on PIA last week, there appeared to be tension over the implementation.
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At the meeting, the Senate Committee discovered that the Presidential Committee contrary to the provision of the PIA may have been interfering with the functions of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) which is tasked with the responsibility of implementing the PIA.
The Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream headed by Senator expressed similar anxiety after it paid an oversight visit to the headquarters of NUPRC in Abuja, calling on the management of NUPRC led by its Chief Executive, Gbenga Komolafe to either ship in or ship out.
Relying on its own findings, the Senate reached the conclusion that the interference from the Steering Committee was not only hindering the Commission but also making it difficult for the PIA to take off on time.
The Senate then said that the repercussion was already manifesting in a growing panic by investors who are not so sure about Nigeria’s next line of action.
While the new Act made provision for the establishment for Host Community Trust Fund to be contributed by settlors; the Senate is concerned that Commission 5 months after being created from the defunct Department of Petroleum (DPR) is yet to come up with the right industry guidelines, stressing that the intendment of the PIA to calm restive nerves in the host communities may have been defeated.
Worried about the delay, President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan has called on the 15 member Senate Committee on Host Community headed by Senator Digi Eremieyor (APC) Bayelsa State to wake up to its responsibilities by ensuring effective oversight of the sector.