FG urged to involve regulators in executive order formulation

The General Manager of Legal and Company Secretary at LEKOIL Nigeria Limited, Gloria Iroegbunam, has stated that the Federal Government needs to seek the inputs of regulators in the oil sector before making executive orders.

Iroegbunam, in a paper titled ‘Practical Efficacy of Executive Orders in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry’, noted that executive orders would have far-reaching positive implications if all actors were pulling in the same direction.

“The petroleum industry stands as the backbone of the Nigerian economy, drawing substantial offshore and domestic investments. However, a significant challenge lies in the regulatory bureaucracy, which often hampers smooth operations and investment flows.

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“The overlapping responsibilities among various regulatory agencies further complicate matters, creating an intricate web of administrative hurdles.”

 In light of these challenges, the Nigerian government’s efforts to streamline these processes through Executive Orders are commendable, but the practical efficacy of these orders warrants deeper examination,” she stated.

She added that the government should ensure the elimination of legal boundaries and regulatory constraints in its executive orders.

Iroegbunam submitted, “A fundamental aspect of implementing executive orders lies in their legal standing. Executive orders are directives from the president that aim to manage operations within the Federal Government.

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“However, their scope is inherently limited when they attempt to override or alter statutory regulations. In Nigeria, many regulatory processes within the petroleum industry are backed by laws enacted by the National Assembly.”

According to her, this is needed to forestall legal disputes arising from the power and reach of such executive orders, as happened in 2019 when a Federal High Court ruling negated the impact of executive orders without legislative backing.

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“For executive orders to achieve their intended purpose, especially in the context of the petroleum industry, there must be a candid collaboration between the government and regulatory bodies. These agencies are the custodians of the administrative processes that executive orders seek to streamline.

“Their involvement ensures that the orders are not only feasible but also practically enforceable. Moreover, engaging regulators in the drafting and implementation phases can pre-empt potential conflicts with existing statutory mandates, thereby enhancing the orders’ effectiveness,” the legal expert added.

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