Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu said he would remain the head of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for a while.
There are concerns in the industry over the double roles of Mr Kachikwu as a supervisor/ regulator and also a player in the oil sector.
Addressing the top officials of the petroleum ministry on Wednesday, Kachikwu said one of his urgent reforms is to amend the long-awaited petroleum industry bill (PIB) and may remove the taxation element to speed its passage.
PIB has been in the works for a decade. It is meant to change everything from taxes to overhauling the NNPC, environmental rules and revenue sharing, but its comprehensive nature has caused disputes between lawmakers.
“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,” Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said on Wednesday after being appointed petroleum minister, or junior oil minister.
“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 subsidies, a heavy burden on the cash-strapped west African nation as it must import the bulk of its gasoline needs owing to a dilapidated refining system.
Kachikwu is keen to scrap the subsidies. However, President Buhari is disinclined as he feels the subsidy system must be properly analysed first in order to see whether it can be kept to help the average Nigerian, who hitherto has benefitted little from the country’s immense oil wealth.