The People of Niger-Delta will receive a fresh opportunity to engage with the Federal Government on the three percent fund allocated to oil producing communities in the region after President Muhammadu Buhari assents to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has said on Friday.
Timipre Sylva also said he has extracted the commitment of multinational oil firms to relocate their operational headquarters to the Niger Delta region shortly after the presidential assent to the PIB.
The Minister said, “We are planning, alongside the Minister of Information to hold town hall meetings in the host communities after the presidential assent to the PIB.“We need to have a more stakeholder engagement over the three percent allocated to the communities. People need to know that it is from production costs and not from profit. The production cost is always higher than the profits.”
He lamented the mismanagement of other funds allocated to the region because of its huge crude oil deposit, and warned that the end of petroleum-based economy would be devastating for the nation, if alternative source of wealth for the nation were not sought after now.
According to Sylva, “Our main challenge is resource management. If we manage all the money coming to the Niger Delta, NDDC, 13 percent derivation, three percent host communities fund and even the one from the amnesty programme, we won’t have some of the issues currently confronting us.
“Today, I can tell you authoritatively that we are on the last mile of the oil economy. Economies around the world are now discussing renewable fuel.
“We must understand that very soon we might wake up and find out that oil is not as valuable a commodity as we thought before.
“Coal did not finish before the world moved away from coal. There is still a lot of coal deposit in Enugu today, but if you give some of it to someone, he might not appreciate it because the world has moved away from coal.
“We must support every effort to ensure that the oil we have today is produced and sold so that we can get the benefits.”