Oil communities, stakeholders reject PIB as Senate promises speedy passage
• Minister, NNPC harp on benefits of bill
The much-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), yesterday, suffered a setback, as major stakeholders rejected the provisions for host communities’ equity and investment prospects.
The issue of right percentage for host communities has stalled the passage of the piece of legislation since 2007. The late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua administration proposed 10 per cent but was rebuffed by northerner lawmakers in the seventh National Assembly.
The same threshold was retained by the Goodluck Jonathan government but was again opposed. In the eighth Senate, presided over by Bukola Saraki, which slashed the shareholding to five per cent, yet could not sail through.
Rejecting the 2.5 per cent provided in the current PIB, the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), at a public hearing on the document, made it clear that nothing short of 10 per cent would be acceptable.
In a presentation by its national president, Benjamin Style Tams, the body argued that it was absurd and economically illogical to deprive “HOSTCOM the right to equity shareholding in both the establishment of the NNPC Limited, the Commission, the Authority and the Boards.”
The group added: “This quest to take over complete control of all our national assets by a very unpatriotic few has to stop.
“In the case of the gas flare penalty funds, the host communities, which are the direct recipients of the negative effects, are the ones to receive penalty.”
In its submission, the Mike Sanger-led Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) faulted the bill for “not making serious provisions for investment in the oil and gas sector.”
Also speaking, Women In Energy Network (WIEN) co Shedding more light, WIEN’s president, Mrs. Funmi Ogbue, submitted that the 2.5 per cent was too expensive.
IN his remarks, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the National Assembly would ensure that the proposed law improves earnings for the country.
Let me say this, we (National Assembly) will pass this bill not without ensuring that it satisfies certain conditions,” he promised. Lawan observed that its the non-passage had bogged down the industry over the years.
ALSO yesterday, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said volatility of oil prices necessitated urgency for passage of the piece of legislation, adding that the move would revolutionise the sector and ensure monetisation of the country’s hydrocarbon resources.
To the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, the industry does not tolerate uncertainties, hence the bill would re-launch the nation.