By CrossRiverWatch admin
The House of Representatives yesterday condemned the planned unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as proposed by the Minister of State for Petroleum and Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, this week without following the constitutional process.
It said instead of embarking on an unconstitutional journey, the President should send an executive bill to the National Assembly as soon as possible if he had the intentions to unbundle NNPC or carry out fundamental restructuring or reforms in the oil and gas sector and not for the Minister to usurp its functions.
The House presided over by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, mandated the committees on petroleum upstream, petroleum downstream, gas and local content and legislative compliance to ensure that the Minister of state for Petroleum was prevented from usurping the functions of the National Assembly and desecrating the Constitution of Nigeria by not allowing him legislate for the National Assembly in the unbundling of NNPC.
The resolutions of the House followed the motion sponsored by Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe representing Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency of Cross River State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, entitled, “Urgent need to investigate acts of procedural breach by the GMD of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.”
Jarigbe in the motion noted that the minister on Thursday, March 3, 2016, was quoted as saying that for the national oil company, a lot of work was going on, adding, “I am sure some of you have seen the effects, but within the next one week, we are going to be announcing some real major overhaul of the system, one that hasn’t been done in over 20 years.”
The lawmaker also stated that the Minister also added that, “The effect of that will be to quite frankly unbundle the huge company into four to five main operational zones, the upstream, downstream, midstream, refining and of course, every other company that is trending to the venture group.”
Continuing Jarigbe who is the Deputy Chairman, House committee on Tertiary Education and Services said that Kachukwu further said that, “But what is more important is that at the same time, we are also unbundling the subsets of these companies to close to about 30 independent companies with their own managing directors.
“And so, titles like the Group Executive Directors, which you have been used to in the last 30 years, will disappear and in place of those, you are going to have Chief Executive Officers.”
He noted that the NNPC was established through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, CAP N123, laws of the Federation, 2004 and that as a creature of legislature, the NNPC Act or any part thereof can only be altered, changed or otherwise amended only by an Act of the National Assembly.
Jarigbe also told the House that the legislative powers of Nigeria was vested in the National Assembly with power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the federation or any part thereof with respect to matters included in the exclusive legislative list.
He said petroleum and natural gas was included as item 39 on the exclusive list and that it was only by an act of the National Assembly that the NNPC can be unbundled and not by the fiat or administrative pronouncement of the Minister or even the President.
He further expressed worry that the Minister’s pronouncement pre-empted the provisions of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill, which had not been introduced in the 8th Assembly.
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