The Federal Government on Monday effectively put an end to the existence of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) with the inauguration of new regulatory bodies for the oil industry.
The government, however said that staff of the scrapped agencies are protected while their chief executive officers have all been relieved of their appointments.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, revealed this while speaking with journalists on the side-lines of the inauguration of the boards of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NPRA) and the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC) in Abuja.
According to the minister, the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has invested the functions of DPR, PPPRA and the PEF on the NPRA and NURC.
On what will happen to the DPR with the inauguration of the board of NURC, Sylva said: “It is now a matter of law.
“The law states that all the assets and even the staff of the DPR are to be invested on the commission and also in the authority. So that means the DPR doesn’t exist anymore.
“And, of course, the law specifically repeals the DPR Act, the Petroleum Inspectorate Act, the Petroleum Equalisation Fund Act and the PPPRA Act. The law specifically repeals them. It is very clear that those agencies do not exist anymore.”
Speaking further on the fate of staff and CEOs of the scrapped agencies, the minister said: “The law also provides for the staff and the jobs in those agencies to be protected.
“But I’m sure that that doesn’t cover, unfortunately, the chief executives, who were on political appointments.”
Sylva also disclosed that the process for aligning the workers of the defunct agencies with the new regulatory bodies had already commenced, as the staff had to be rationalised.
“The authority has its staff coming from the defunct PEF, PPPRA and DPR. The commission has staff coming over from DPR and the process is going on for the next few weeks, the minister said, adding that the inauguration of the boards on Monday marked the beginning of the successor agencies.
“The PIA provides for the upstream regulatory commission and the establishment of the midstream and downstream authority.
“So far, the chief executives of these agencies have not been in place, but of course, Mr President in his wisdom made the appointment a few weeks ago and they went through a rigorous process of confirmation at the National Assembly.
“The agencies have now taken off because they now have clear leadership and today’s event marks that beginning for the new agencies”, Sylva added.
The minister, who expressed optimism that investors would now take full advantage of the passage of the PIA to invest in the country’s oil industry, said further: “Today, the PIA has clarified the legal framework around the sector and the agencies are now in place. So I don’t see anything now stopping investors from coming. Nigerians should brace up for exponential growth in the oil and gas sector.”