The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, on Wednesday identified the provision of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill permitting the Petroleum Regulatory Commission to retain as much as 10 per cent of the revenue generated as one of the reasons President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to the bill.
He said the President’s position was that the provision unduly increased the funds accruing to the commission to the detriment of the revenue available to the Federal, States, Federal Capital Territory and local governments in the country. Enang made the clarification in a statement made available to journalists.
He said while it was true that the President had declined his assent to the bill, the reasons being adduced in the media for the decision were not true. The presidential aide said although it was unconventional to disclose the content of the executive’s communication to the legislature before its reading on the floor of the National Assembly, he took the liberty to make the clarification because of the reports.
Enang said, “By presidential communication of July 29, 2018 (one month ago) addressed to the Senate and House of Representatives, Mr. President did communicate decline of assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill 2018 for constitutional and legal reasons stated therein. “By convention, it is inappropriate to speak on the content of Executive communication addressed to the legislature until same has been read on the floor in plenary.
“But I plead for the understanding of the legislature that due to the misrepresentations in the public domain and apparent deliberate blackmail, which, if not promptly addressed, may set both the executive and the legislature against the public and even the international investment community, this be excused.” According to the statement, none of the reasons for withholding assent by the President adduced by the media is true.
Enang said, he was disclosing “very limited of the rationale communicated to the legislature,” in deference to the National Assembly. He said the provision of the Bill permitting the Petroleum Regulatory Commission to retain as much as 10 per cent of the revenue generated unduly increases the funds accruing to the Commission to the detriment of the revenue available to the Federal, States and Local governments as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
“Expanding the scope of Petroleum Equalisation Fund and some provisions in divergence from this administration’s policy and indeed conflicting provisions on independent petroleum equalisation fund; some legislative drafting concerns which if assented to in the form presented will create ambiguity and conflict in interpretation. Other issues therein contained. “May this please answer some of the issues raised until the communication is read on the floor.”