OrderPaperToday – There seems to be a growing anxiety in the Senate over what is perceived as the poor take-off of implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) five months after the law was signed.

The worries heightened after the senate committee on petroleum resources (upstream) met with the Presidential Implementation Steering Committee on PIA last week.

The Senate panel had at the meeting discovered that the presidential committee, contrary to the provisions of the PIA, may have been interfering with the functions of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), charged with the responsibility of implementing the upstream governance of the PIA.

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Chairman of the committee, Senator Albert Bassey (PDP Akwa Ibom North East) expressed worries after an oversight visit to the headquarters of NUPRC in Abuja during which he called on the management of NUPRC led by its Chief Executive, Gbenga Komolafe, to either ship in or ship out.

Relying on its own findings, the senate reached the conclusion that the interference from the steering committee was not only hindering the commission but also making it difficult for the PIA to take off on time.

This, Senate said, was already manifesting in a growing panic by investors who are not so sure about Nigeria’s next line of action.

However, President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan has called on the 15-member Senate Committee on Host Community headed by Senator Digi Eremieyor (APC, Bayelsa East) to wake up to its responsibilities by ensuring effective oversight of the sector.

The Act made provision for the establishment of the Host Community Development Trust Fund to be contributed by settlors.

The Senate is concerned that the commission, 5 months after being created from the defunct Department of Petroleum (DPR), is yet to come up with the right industry guidelines for the operationalization of the Trusts.

It feared that the PIA which is intended to calm restive nerves in the host communities may be compounding the problem if not properly implemented and on time for that matter.

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