The new Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu has disclosed that he would still be presiding over the affairs of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) until a new Group Managing Director is appointed.
Kachikwu was forced to make the clarification following concerns in the industry over his new position as minister which makes him a supervisor/ regulator and also a player in the oil sector.
However, while addressing top officials of the petroleum ministry on assumption of office, Kachikwu declared that his first priority in his bid to reform the sector is the amendment of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). “There is a need to look at the PIB as it was submitted to the sixth assembly and try and tinker with that a bit. There are all kinds of issues … one of those is whether we need to yank out the fiscal terms and develop them into a different law relying on existing fiscal laws and amend those,” he said.
He said the government was also looking at fuel subsidy, which has become a heavy burden on Nigeria in recent years following the inability of the government- owned refineries to operate at installed capacities or new refineries set up due to high incentives on fuel importation. Kachikwu is keen to scrap fuel subsidy but not without finding solution to the nation’s refinery dilemma.
By Olisemeka Obeche