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Petroleum Industry Bill: Okowa Rejects 3% For Host Communities

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Petroleum Industry Bill: Okowa Rejects 3% For Host Communities

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of  Delta State has rejected the 3% share of oil revenue to host communities in the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill by the National Assembly.

Recall that the Senate had last week Thursday passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) after years of failed attempts.

Speaking on Thursday while receiving the South-South Zonal Working Committee of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Asaba, Okowa said the 3% approved by the senate was unacceptable.

The governor, however, noted that 5% should be given to host communities as recommended by the House of Representatives.

If for any reason there was a drop from the proposed 10 per cent, it is very insensitive to have dropped it to three per cent. We hope that at the joint conference in the National Assembly, justice will be done.

“We have made our position known in the southern governors meeting. We also believe that specifically fixing a percentage for exploration of oil in an Act of the National Assembly was not done in good faith.

“At best, it would have been a management decision and ought not to be tied to percentages. It would have been a business decision and therefore cannot be legislated in terms of percentage in an Act that is supposed to be signed into law.

“We are not asking that monies cannot be set aside for explorations, but those have to be management decisions and monies set aside based on profitability or otherwise,” he said.

Okowa also faulted persisting delay in constituting the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board on the excuse of an ongoing forensic audit of the commission.

He said that the forensic audit was about past activities of NDDC and should not, therefore, jeopardize the progress of the commission.

He said: “It is on record that in the last two years or more, we have truly not had a board for the NDDC. We started with a committee and unfortunately, we ended up with interim administration which is unknown to the Act establishing NDDC.

“The Act rightfully enables every state that produces oil to have a member representing it in the board, but in the last two years or more, we have not had representation of the states.

“Unfortunately, we have stayed on this situation for so long. As South-South governors, we will continue to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly reconstitute the board so that every state will have the opportunity to participate in both projects and running of the NDDC”.

The governor added that a participatory process would give credibility to the running of the board, but said “as it is run today, there is no doubt that it’s not decent enough and we are not happy as a people”.

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows. Gbenga is an alumnus of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State and The Polytechnic, Ibadan.