LAW ‘We can’t move from pub­lic to pri­vate mo­nop­oly with­out com­pe­ti­tion law’

Pro­fes­sor Paul Obo Idornigie SAN is a scholar who rose through the ranks to be­come a Pro­fes­sor of Law in 1995. He is presently a lec­turer at the Nige­rian In­sti­tute of Ad­vanced Le­gal Stud­ies. In this in­ter­view, he speaks on the Com­pe­ti­tion Law, PIB, Port c

Daily Trust - - LAW - By Ade­lanwa Bamg­boye

Do you sup­port pas­sage of Com­pe­ti­tion Law? the the

Yes. Go­ing down mem­ory lane, I came to BPE in 2002 and the first work I did was in the draft­ing of the com­pe­ti­tion law for the coun­try. When you are pri­va­tiz­ing, you are mov­ing from pub­lic mo­nop­oly to pri­vate mo­nop­oly. And be­cause you are mov­ing to pri­vate mo­nop­oly, there is need to reg­u­late it, thus the need for com­pe­ti­tion law. There is no dom­i­nant player in any mar­ket, sec­tor or in­dus­try. This means there is no dom­i­nant player that will abuse the mar­ket. BPE has been pri­va­tiz­ing since 1988, and our po­si­tion is you can­not be mov­ing from pub­lic mo­nop­oly to pri­vate mo­nop­oly with­out com­pe­ti­tion law in place. For me, the law is long over­due. When BPE was work­ing, then in 2004, it found that there was a sim­i­lar bill in the Na­tional As­sem­bly. By 2006, there was a com­pe­ti­tion bill but it has suf­fered the fate of most bills in the Na­tional As­sem­bly that is be­cause it comes as an ex­ec­u­tive bill, it came to Na­tional As­sem­bly when they were round­ing up.

Luck­ily, with this 8th Na­tional As­sem­bly, the Se­nate pres­i­dent is very pas­sion­ate about this bill so it is mov­ing in the Na­tional As­sem­bly.

There is also the PIB which could not be passed, what is the im­por­tance of this bill?

When Nasir el-Ru­fai was the DG of BPE he set up var­i­ous com­mit­tees, one of them was the Oil and Gas Im­ple­men­ta­tion Com­mit­tee (OGIC). The main aim of that com­mit­tee was to draft a pol­icy for the oil and gas sec­tor. That com­mit­tee worked in 2005 to pro­duce a draft PIB which by 2006/2007 got to NNPC. It was while there that Yar’adua took over and he set up an­other OGIC un­der Dr Ril­wanu Luk­man. Luk­man chaired the first and sec­ond OGIC that pro­duced an­other PIB of 2008. That PIB of 2008 went to the Na­tional As­sem­bly and went through first read­ing, sec­ond read­ing and third read­ing, then the host com­mu­nity is­sue - how do you cater for the host com­mu­nity came up. Is the NNPC enough? Is the Min­istry of Niger Delta enough? It was be­cause of these var­i­ous in­ter­ests as to how to cater for the host com­mu­nity; whether you will now pro­vide in that bill a per­cent­age you pay to the host com­mu­nity in ad­di­tion to what you do with NNPC. This is one of the rea­sons that hin­dered the bill from scal­ing through the third read­ing.

Ali­son Diezani, as min­is­ter of Pe­tro­leum, started her own draft. She pro­duced it in 2012. For me, that PIB of 2012 is the worst ver­sion of all the bills I’ve seen be­cause when you are reforming, you cre­ate a power for reg­u­la­tion, that is why in the power sec­tor you have NERC, in the stock ex­change sec­tor you have SEC, in the com­mu­ni­ca­tion sec­tor you have NCC. The is­sue has al­ways been in the oil and gas sec­tor, what kind of reg­u­la­tor do we want? Gen­er­ally, there is the con­cept of in­de­pen­dent reg­u­la­tor - in­de­pen­dent fi­nan­cially, ad­min­is­tra­tively and func­tion­ally, in other words, it should not be sub­ject to the di­rec­tion of the min­is­ter, but the 2012 ver­sion of PIB was sub­ject to the pow­ers of the min­is­ter.

An­other thing is who are those that make up this reg­u­la­tory body? In that 2012 bill, you found that NUPENG and PEGASSAN are mem­bers. Those to be reg­u­lated be­came mem­bers of the or­gan that it is reg­u­lat­ing. So, that bill didn’t go far at all.

There is a ver­sion now in the Na­tional As­sem­bly. What NNPC has done is to break it down in­stead of hav­ing one bill cov­er­ing the sec­tor. So there is one in the Na­tional As­sem­bly now that cov­ers in­sti­tu­tions and gov­er­nance, in other words, which new in­sti­tu­tions do we need to cre­ate? The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is spon­sor­ing a Na­tional stake­hold­ers’ work­shop to look at this bill holis­ti­cally.

The pres­i­dent of the Nige­rian Bar As­so­ci­a­tion (NBA) is also in­ter­ested in the PIB, he also set up a com­mit­tee to ad­vise him on the way for­ward on the PIB.

Pro­fes­sor Paul Obo Idornigie

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