29 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru on Tuesday said about 21 committees of the National Assembly perform oversight functions on the operations of the corporation.
Dr. Maikanti Baru stated this while delivering a keynote speech at the Executive Intelligence Management Course, EIMC 10 of the Institute for Security Studies, Bwari, Abuja entitled: “Executive-Legislative Relations: Gaps, Challenges, and Prospects”
Dr. Baru said the 21 committees are made up of eight core standing committees, 11 non-core standing Committees, and two ad-hoc committees.
He described the interplay between members of the executive and the legislative arms of government as an indispensable element of the democratic process with a potential positive spin-off effect on the oil and gas industry in the country.
“It is believed that a government business enterprise such as the NNPC, and by wider application, the oil and gas industry as a whole, will benefit from a constructive legislative-executive interplay that stimulates government agencies and parastatals to thrive and support our national aspirations,” he said
Dr. Baru added that the managment and staff of the Corporation appreciate the role of the legislative arm of government in its day-to-day operations noting that a full department headed by a General Manager, is dedicated to managing the relationship between NNPC and the legislature.
Dr. Baru said the NNPC was currently collaborating with the legislature and other industry stakeholders to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, hitherto referred to as the Petroleum Industry Bill.
He re-iterated that the Industry, under the leadership of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and with the support of President Muhammadu Buhari, has adopted the approach of splitting the PIB into four segments, namely: the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, (PIGB), the Fiscal Regime Bill, the Upstream and Midstream Administration Bill and the Petroleum Revenue Bill in order to expedite its passage.
The NNPC helmsman said that despite the cordial relations between the Corporation and the Legislature, there existed gray areas which occasionally reared their ugly heads in the relationship which has spanned close to two decades.
Dr. Baru stressed his inability to be physically present at all National Assembly engagements, pleading that the legislature should show understanding as the commitment of the office of the GMD of NNPC was highly demanding which he noted must be appropriately shared between doing the operational/administrative functions and responses to the National Assembly and other arms of government’s invitations.
On the reported move by the Federal government to legalise and regularize the operations of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta, the GMD said the initiative would help instill sanity and provide the much needed technical support and framework for the operation of the would-be modular refineries.
Dr. Baru identified enacting laws to criminalize pipeline vandalism or sabotage as an area in which he sought closer relations with the legislature, explaining that the activities of the vandals posed a lot of challenges to the industry and that existing legislation on the subject appeared too weak to serve as deterrence.
In his remark, Mr. Matthew Seiyefa, Director of the Institute for Security Studies, commended Dr. Baru for making time out from his busy schedule to share his perspectives on the subject with the course 10 participants.
He said as the cash cow of the country, the strategic role of the NNPC could not be overstated, noting that apart from serving as the main foreign exchange earner for the nation; the Corporation was critical to Nigeria’s national energy security