The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the appointment of Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke as Minister of Petroleum.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke was born in 1960 in Port Harcourt, River State, and trained as an architect in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Upon graduation she worked for several years in the United States in construction and planning, before she joined Shell in 1993, where amongst other roles she was tasked with managing the company's reputation issues. Alison-Madueke has served in various government organisations including as a board member of the Petroleum Trust Fund representing Bayelsa State between 1998 and 1999 and in that same period, as a member of the Oil and Mineral Producing Areas Development Corporation Coordinating Committee, Bayelsa State.
She was appointed a Minister of Works by His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua in 2007 and redeployed as Minister of Mines and Steel Development on Wednesday 17th December, 2008. Alison-Madueke has now been appointed the Minister of Petroleum.
Views on Petroleum Industry Bill
Allison-Madueke has not made extensive public comments on the Petroleum Industry Bill. However at her Senate screening last week, she was reported by Thisday as saying:
"The PIB has been extremely topical for the petroleum sector. In its essence, it is a bill that seeks to separate regulatory policy and monitoring issues from the commercial operations issue in the sector.
"It is also a bill that, if followed through in its entirety, will ensure for Nigeria, from government's point of view, to realize a much higher commercial value for every petrol dollar that is produced in this country.
"So, it has various legislative and administrative instrument consolidated under an omnibus whole and this instrument helps to ensure that there is greater flexibility for the Federal Government in terms of royalties and taxes in these areas."
An article in the Nation, which profiles the potential Ministers of Petroleum including Allison-Madueke, indicates views from unnamed stakeholders that as an ex-Shell staff, Allison-Madueke would support international oil companies in relation to the bill. The article may be found here .
It seems unlikely that Allison-Madueke's position on the petroleum industry bill would be significantly biased in favour of oil companies because of her work experience. Extrapolating from her time as Minister of Mines and Steel Development, where upon appointment, she carried out a comprehensive review of the mining licences/titles, we opine that she is likely to take her time to understand the logic and arguments with respect to the contents of the bill and would not have a closed mind to new ideas. There is a question however, as to whether it may be too late for her to influence its content as the bill has already undergone significant review at the National Assembly.
We shall continue to watch developments in relation to petroleum policy in general and the petroleum industry bill in particular under Mrs. Allison Madueke and provide updates accordingly.
1. This profile relies on the profile of the Minister published on the Ministry of Mines and Steel's website.
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