ICAN picks holes in Petroleum Industry Bill

By The Citizen

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria has faulted some provisions of the Petroleum Industry Bill currently with the National Assembly, saying some of its sections, if passed, could 'derail the laudable objectives of the bill.'

The institute made its position on the bill known in a memorandum submitted to the National Assembly.

ICAN's memo, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent on Monday, was signed by its President, Mr. Adedoyin Owolabi.

The passage of the bill is expected to help the Federal Government to attract new investments into the oil and gas industry.

Specifically, ICAN faulted Section 1 of the PIB, which deals with the objectives of the bill; Section 17 (Board of the Inspectorate); Section 22 (vacancy on the board); and Section 26 (removal of the director-general and directors from office).

Others recommended for amendment by the institute are Section 27 (secretary); Sections 35 and 141, which deal with mid-year and annual reports; Section 166 (directors of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on matters related to transition) and Section 314 (chargeable tax).

It also faulted the provisions of Section 336 (penalty for non-payment of tax); Section 76 (development fund); Sections 116 and 117 (Petroleum Host Community Fund); Section 118 (beneficial entitlements to host community); Section 124 (exemption from certain existing laws); Section 130 (borrowing powers); Section 139 (power to accept gifts); and sections 144, 207, 260, 261, 310, 305 and 353, among others.

In faulting Section 166 of the bill, which grants the Minister of Petroleum the sole powers to reform the NNPC and associated entities, ICAN recommended that such should be done with the approval of the Senate.

It said, 'It is our view that the appointment and removal of chief executives and board members should be ratified by the Senate.

'The appointment must be for a specific term of four years and renewable for another one term only. The appointment must be through competitive process of selection and open to all qualified Nigerians, either living at home or abroad.'