President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Amendment Bill 2018 recently passed by the national assembly.

His decision to reject the bill was conveyed in a letter dated January 17 and addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki, who read it at the start of plenary on Wednesday.

Giving his reasons for the decision, the president said the bill in a number of important sections, undermines the powers of the minister petroleum resources and the functions and responsibilities of the ministry of petroleum resources.

The sections in this regard includes Section 3, Section 6(1)(a) to 5, 2 to 5, Section 7(a), 7(b), Section 8, 9 and 11.

He also said the bill seeks to enable NOSDRA to function as a technical regulator in the issuance of guidelines and standards for the oil and gas industry which is a responsibility already embedded in the ministry of petroleum resources under the Petroleum Act.

“Section 8 of the bill imposes a new charge on the industry of 0.5% of operation funds of oil companies for the enforcement of the environmental legislations in the petroleum sector. This imposition is an additional burden to the industry particularly given that it is unclear what operation funds means for the purpose of applying the provisions of the bill,” he added.

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