Tuesday, 5 October 2010
Okon fires broadside
NNPC's group general manager for strategy, Tim Okon, has gone out on a limb with the issue of another interagency memorandum on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and letter attacking changes made by the Senate Upstream Committee, chaired by Senator Lee Maeba.
NNPC's Venezuela consultant, Pedro Van Muerrs, circulated the memorandum in July on behalf of Okon as leader of the government's Interagency Team. The new memorandum is described as the final submission of the Interagency Team.
It is unclear if Okon and Van Muerrs had any approval for making the new submission from either Minister of Petroleum Dezeani Allison-Madueke or the group managing director of NNPC, Austen Oniwon. Neither appears to have known about it until after the event.
The letter has drawn a fierce reaction from some senators who say that a second-tier NNPC official such as Okon has no right to interfere in the legislative process or make criticisms of the Senate's work.
Okon and Van Muerrs have objections to the way that the drafted Senate Bill departs from their own work but it was not expected they would become so vocal about them. An NNPC source says they took the initiative because they bemoan the failure of Allison-Madueke to press their case in the Senate.
Despite the latest salvo, it appears unlikely that the National Assembly will be rushed into adopting the latest Interagency draft of the PIB. Motions are expected soon in the Senate and House of Representatives for an adjournment of the new sessions because of the election.
The Senate was reconvening this week after the summer recess and the House of Representatives is due to return on 12th October. Although the Senate and House could be recalled to vote on the PIB, it cannot be done until the key committee stage is passed.
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