ABUJA Dec 7 Nigeria's oil sales should remain
the sole responsibility of one company rather than be split
between two agencies as a draft of the country's long-awaited
petroleum bill proposes, the head of state oil company NNPC said
Maikanti Baru, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation's
(NNPC) group managing director, told a parliamentary hearing
that the draft Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which aims to
radically overhaul the OPEC member's oil sector, should be
amended so that only one company, the newly created National
Petroleum Company (NPC), is allowed to sell the nation's oil.
The draft had sought to create competition and efficiency in
the sector by having two agencies selling oil which the NNPC
opposes on the grounds it would muddle responsibilities.
Crude sales account for 70 percent of government revenue,
making it the mainstay of Africa's largest economy. The NNPC has
been criticised for managing commercial, policy making and
regulatory activities, which analysts say has exacerbated
corruption and mismanagement.
Baru said the second agency proposed under the bill, the
Nigeria Petroleum Assets Management Company (NPAMC) should serve
as an administrative arm overseeing crude production and joint
venture agreements with oil companies.
Baru acknowledged that by providing the NPAMC with a mandate
to sell crude oil, the bill will create two competing national
oil companies. But he stressed it would be "best practice" for
the NPC to sell oil on behalf of all agencies and the new bill
to clearly define responsibilities.
The overhaul bill, which has been stuck in parliament for
more than a decade, aims to stamp out corruption and
inefficiency at state oil giant NNPC and turn it into a
commercial agency. Part of the current bill includes plans to
sell stakes of at least 40 percent of the newly created NPC and
eventually list it on the stock exchange.
Baru did not object to plans in the bill to hand the
regulation of Nigeria's oil sector over to a third agency, named
the Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NRPC).
Last month the Senate gave initial approval in the second
reading to the draft bill, a procedural move that allowed it to
The next step is for parliamentary committees to provide a
report, after which the Senate will go through the final version
of the bill clause by clause.
Senate President Bukola Saraki said they aimed to have the
bill "signed, sealed and delivered for the benefit of the
Nigerian public early in 2017."
Baru said the split responsibilities between the NPC, NPAMC
and the NPRC would ensure transparency, but that the NPC should
also "publish annually a detailed report on all petroleum
revenue payments made to government."
(Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram and Libby George; Editing by