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Nigerians To Own Shares In National Oil Coy When PIGB Becomes Law

Mr. Osten Olorunsola

Nigerians will stand the epic opportunity to own shares in the national oil company after the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) is signed into law as the National Petroleum Company (NPC) which will emerge from the unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is expected to list on the stock exchange.

The company which is expected to list five years from when it begins operations will have to put out about 40percent shares which Nigerians can buy into and become shareholders alongside the federal government.

The company is further expected to put up more shares between five and 10 year period of being in operations to allow Nigerians greater opportunity of owing stake in the national oil company.

Lead Consultant to the National Assembly on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Mr. Osten Olorunsola, disclosed this Wednesday in Abuja while speaking at a training organised by the Nigeria National Resource Charter (NNRC) in collaboration with Media Initiative on Transparency in Extractive Industry.

Mr Olorunsola, a former Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) said the listings will allow Nigerians directly own shares in the company, while also providing funds for the company.

On how soon the PIGB will likely be assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, he said, “I think maybe Mr. President may ask for one or two changes but it is going to be signed. It is looking good in my view.”

Speaking further, he stated that the three other bills – Petroleum Industry Host Community Bill (PHCB); Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB); and Petroleum Industry Administration Bill (PIAB) – are aggressively being worked on by the National Assembly, saying they should be passed before December 25th.

Olorunsola who is also a member of the NNRC Advisory Panel said, the remaining three bills which are meant to compliment the PIGB have gone through public hearing.

“The next phase is the committee retreat (by the National Assembly committee on petroleum) and they will have to go through each of our recommendations from the public hearing. The bills would be updated based on inputs from all the public hearings and then it will go to third reading which is the final process. I think it will happen before Christmas Day.”

The PIGB which is reportedly awaiting presidential assent, proposes the unbundling of the NNPC into the NPC and National Petroleum Assets Management Commission (NPAMC). It also propose the creation a single-entity regulator called the Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPRC) for the oil and gas industry.

Also, under the new governance structure, the NPC would be an integrated oil and gas company, operating as a fully commercial entity that will run like a private company, while the NPAMC would be a single petroleum regulatory commission, which would focus mainly on regulating the industry.

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