Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Chief Timipre Sylva has inaugurated the governing boards of the new entities comprising the regulatory framework for the oil and gas industry as provided for by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). The new entities are the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC) and Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA). The inauguration of the two bodies are critical steps to ensuring effective regulation and the adoption of best practices in the Oil and Gas sector, in line with global standards. The minister inaugurated the new Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and members of the Governing Boards of the Commission and Authority on Wednesday, in Abuja, following their appointments, screening and clearance by the Senate.
The Commission replaced the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) while the Authority replaced the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). The Minister had on Oct. 18 unveiled the CEOs appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in a public event and directed the immediate commencement of their assignments for effective implementation of the PIA. The commission has Mr Gbenga Komolafe as its CEO while Alhaji Farouk Ahmed is the CEO of the authority. Sylva, who described the new development as a very normal transition, said it was an effect of the newly passed PIA which created upstream, midstream and downstream regulatory authority.
According to him, the law stipulated that certain actions must be taken, which included winding down of the DPR and inauguration of the two successor agencies. He decried the speculated media reports that the former CEOs of the defunct DPR, PEF and PPPRA were sacked, saying that the reports were not reflective of the situation, as the PIA established the new regulatory agencies to succeed DPR and others. Speaking on the position of the staff of the three agencies, he assured them that their emoluments and entitlements were fully protected by law, while anything concerning their welfare would not be compromised. “No job or remuneration will be lost in the process, the transition is by law and the law protects you completely,’’ Sylva said. He also assured DPR staff that their ongoing yearly promotion issues would be resolved and tasked the newly appointed CEOs to ensure that the process was concluded expeditiously before the end of 2021.
In a similar vein, the minister reassured people and contractors, who had commitments with the PEF, that the law vested all the liabilities and assets of the PEF on the new regulatory authority. Mr Ibrahim Chiroma, Head, Corporate Services, DPR, in a remark, said that the staff were fully committed to working with the new CEOs, expressing readiness to give them maximum support. Chiroma added that the DPR had put in place a compendium to serve as a guide to the CEOs as they assumed duty as heads of the commission and the authority. In a remark, the acting Executive Secretary, PPPRA, Mr Olasupo Agbaje, said the inauguration was in fulfilment of the requirements of the law as it related to the implementation of the PIA. Agbaje said that it was also designed to ensure that the Oil and Gas Industry and the nation derived the maximum benefits envisaged by the Act.
“It is based on this optimism that we whole heartedly salute the doggedness, determination and commitment of the Minister in ensuring a seamless and timely implementation,” he said. The highlight of the event was the handing over of the 2021 compendium consisting of DPR’s business and service instruments to the CEOs, to guide both upstream and downstream sector.