Host communities of oil and gas producing areas have said they would not accept anything less than 10 per cent of proceeds from the natural resources as proposed by late former President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
They have also sought for the scrapping of the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC).
On the second day of the Public Hearing on Petroleum Industry Bill ( PIB) 2020, organised by Senate’s joint Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Upstream and Gas, they rejected the 2.5% of proceeds in the bill.
The National President of the Host Communities producing Oil and Gas ( HOSTCOM), High Chief ( Dr) Benjamin Style Tams, said that what government ought to have included in the new PIB was the scrapping of NDDC and establishment of Host Communities producing Oil and Gas Commission that will meet the development- needs of host communities”.
He adds, “What we want is 10% 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% to 5% in the last bill considered by the 8th National Assembly , it is further slashed to 2.5% in the current bill .
“This is not acceptable to us as host communities of the oil producing firms . The 10% earlier proposed must be worked upon if the bill is to be acceptable to the various communities bearing the brunt.”
But Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva thinks the proposed 2.5% is fair enough.
“I speak advisably as a member of the 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 and 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”
Meanwhile, a factional leader of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, Mr. Mike Emuh, has accused the Federal Government of diverting N500 billion paid by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and National Oil Companies (NOCs) for the development of the host communities.
His words, “We are having over 12 groups in the Niger Delta and some are duly registered by CAC and some are not registered. This is a public hearing so any community or group can show up.
“But basically, this is the umbrella body of the whole of the oil producing states in Nigeria….
“Industrialisation, modular refinery and gas plant licences should be given to the host community. Nobody in the whole Niger Delta owns an oil bloc which is an error.
“There are individuals in this county that have two oil blocs. But the whole of the Niger Delta, no king, no traditional ruler, not even the Oba of Benin, owns an oil bloc.
“They should give us an oil bloc. 95 per cent of the economy is being produced by the host community. At least let us be beneficiary of at least 1 per cent.
“On the PIB, we are saying 10 per cent equity was the executive bill that was signed by late Yar’Adua, it should not be less than 10 per cent. We are not taking 2.5 per cent, 5 per cent. 10 per cent equity should be in favour of the host community in the establishment of this law that will create hostcom commission.
“IOCs are the six major oil companies: Chevron, Shell, Total. This is the money they paid to DPR, DPR pays to CBN and CBN pays to federation account which is wrong it should end up with the host community account, not the federation account so there should be a law guiding that issue.’