Proposes 18 months extension to NASS on implementation of PIA

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

THE Federal Government on Tuesday announced that the reason for the extension of complete removal of subsidy was as a result of President Muhammadu Buhari’s insistence that all the necessary structures must be put in place to caution the effect of the removal.

President Buhari approved the suspension of the removal of fuel subsidy until further notice.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, who briefed State House Correspondents in Abuja, said the structures as pointed out by the President are not in place.

He said with the President’s intervention, fuel subsidy is not on the cart for now.

The Minister said that the government will continue to engage the leadership of the organized who have insisted that the proposed nationwide protest on January27 against the subsidy removal would go ahead.

The Minister had earlier before the briefing met with the President at the State House, Abuja.

Speaking to journalists, the minister said the executive will propose 18 months extension to National Assembly for the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) that was meant to kickstart this February.

He said, “We don’t intend to remove subsidy now. That is why are making this announcement.

“We also see the legal implication. There is six months provision in the PIA which will expire in February and that is why we are coming out to to say that before the expiration of this time, as I said earlier, we will engage the legislature. We believe that this will go to the legislature, we are applying for amendment of the law so that we would still be within the law.

“We are proposing an 18months extension but what the national Assembly is going to approve is up to them. We would approve an 18 months extension and then it is up to the national Assembly to look at it and pass the amendment as the see it.

“Somebody mentioned here the possibility of gradual increase, that is not on the table as well. Gradual or increment in whatever guise is not on the table.

“We are going to see how to rejig the law, this is not going to be the only amendment to the PIA. A few months ago, the President already proposed an amendment to the law.”

President Buhari had on 16th August 2021 signed the Petroleum Industry Bill into law.

Buhari’s assent to the bill was in furtherance to the passage of the Bill by both the Senate and the House of Representatives earlier in July 2021.

The PIA is expectedly grow investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry and create more employment opportunities for the populace in the host communities.

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