Oil-producing communities tell FG to scrap NDDC
Oil and gas-producing communities have asked the Federal Government to immediately scrap the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The demand came as the communities insist that 2.5 per cent proposed for them in the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is unacceptable, saying they stand by 10 per cent, which the late former President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua proposed before it was shut down.
The host communities made the call for the scrapping of NDDC barely 24 hours after a public hearing on the PIB 2020, organised by Senate’s Joint Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Upstream, and Gas.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, faulted his kinsmen in the host communities over their insistence on 10 per cent accruals from the various oil firms.
National President of the Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), High Chief Benjamin Style Tams, said all the interventionist agencies established by the Federal Government for the development of the communities had not made any reasonable impact in that direction.
According to him, the worst of the interventionist agencies is the NDDC, which is, more or less, a cesspool as recently displayed by its management and seen by all Nigerians.
“What government is supposed to add to the new PIB is scrapping of NDDC and establishment of Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas Commission which will, in practical terms, be very responsive to the development need of the various communities.
“What we want is 10 per cent equity remittance from the various oil firms to respective host communities as proposed in the PIB considered in the 7th National Assembly, but not assented to.
“It is even very annoying that having reduced the 10 per cent to 5 per cent in the last bill considered by the 8th National Assembly, it was further slashed to 2.5 per cent in the current bill.
“This is not acceptable to us as host communities of the oil-producing firms. The 10 per cent earlier proposed must be worked upon if the bill is to be acceptable to the various communities bearing the brunt,” he fumed.
Reacting to the submission of the communities, in an interview, Sylva said the 2.5 per cent proposed in the bill is fair enough.
“I speak advisedly as a member of a host community myself. If you have to look at it properly, you will see that 10 per cent of profit is different from 10 per cent of the operation cost from the various oil firms.
“Before now, you had the provision of 10 per cent of profit. Profit means that if I don’t declare it, you don’t have anything. I can decide to say 100 per cent of profit and not declare any profit, so you don’t get anything.
“But in this case, it’s 2.5 per cent of the OPEX. So, at the end of the year, you look at your operating cost and take 2.5 per cent of that cost to the budget of the next year.
“As far as we are concerned, we have made a very fair proposal. Fair to the host communities, to the country and to the oil companies,” the minister said.
According to Sylva, provisions made in the bill are just proposals before the National Assembly and until they are passed before we can talk about them.
Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Mohamned Sabo Nakudu (APC Jigawa South West), said all the views and submissions made by the various stakeholders would be harmonised.
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