Kyari to Appear Before Senate This Week Over 60% Frontier Acreages Funds

* As Yari speaks on water resources bill

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja 

The Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari, is expected to appear before the Senate Committee on Gas Resources this week over the  management of the 60 per cent Frontier Acreages Funds.

The Chairman of the Senate panel, Senator Jarigbe Jarigbe, had on Thursday, summoned Kyari after he met with the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, and his team, over the matter behind closed doors.

Jarigbe told journalists after the meeting that the NUPRC team explained the challenges they are facing with the 60 per cent of the frontier acreage funds.

He said: “We received a briefing from the CEO of NUPRC and his team on the activities of the agency. 

“Section 9 subsection 4 and 5 provides that the NUPRC should have Frontier Acreages as an escrow account for the exploration and development of frontier acreages and that fund is subject to the approval of the National Assembly.

“Also, section 22 subsection 1 of the Petroleum Industry Act also provides that the National Assembly oversights the budget and expenditure of the NUPRC.

“So, we had to interact with the commission on those issues and we discovered that there is no fund raised from 30 per cent oil profit and 30 per cent gas profit as provided for in Section 9 subsection 4 of the PIA.

“So, we also intend to engage with the NNPCL on that and that is why we have invited the management team for a briefing on the matter.

“We don’t know the budget because we weren’t given any figure. We will get details on that and get back to the Senate in plenary.” 

Frontier acreages refer to any or all licences or leases located in an area defined as frontier in the Petroleum Industry Act.

The PIA introduced the Frontier Exploration Fund to support exploration and development in Nigeria’s frontier acreages.

These areas include regions like Anambra, Dahomey, Bida, Sokoto, Chad and Benue where hydrocarbon exploration is yet to occur or remains undeveloped.

The PIA further stated that the Fund, constituting 30% of NNPC’s “profit oil and profit gas” from various contracts, will finance exploration and development activities in the frontier acreages.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Water Resources, Senator Abdulaziz Yari, has said the 10th Senate would not force any unpopular bill on Nigerians.

He stated this while reacting to journalists questions on whether the water resources bill that was thrown out in the ninth National Assembly would resurface in the 10th Senate.

Yari pledged that the Senate would scrutinise any bill before introducing it for legislative actions.

He said: “I have not seen a copy of the water resources bill that was rejected in the 9th Assembly. 

“This is a democracy, no matter what our intentions are, we have to listen to the yearnings of our people in terms of the bills that we propose and the oversight actions that we take. 

“This committee should not be about what we want as senators, it should be about what the Nigerian people need.”

The former governor of Zamfara State, who is serving his first term in the upper chamber of Nigeria’s National Assembly, called for closer collaboration between the legislative and executive branches of government to provide all 200 million Nigerians with clean drinking water and access to water for sanitation and hygiene.

According to him, “We are all aware that water is life, and it is the responsibility of the government to provide clean water for all our people. 

“At the same time, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that we harness the vast potential of water in energy production, irrigation for agriculture and transportation.

“This Committee on Water Resources will work closely with the Executive branch of our nation’s Federal Government to ensure that we play our role in providing effective oversight of the ministries, departments and agencies that deal with water. 

“Most importantly, we will work to ensure that the work of this committee is in line with the 10th Senate’s legislative agenda.” 

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