At the public hearing of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the National President of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, Chief Benjamin Tamaranebi has called on the Federal Government to scrap the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Speaking with Journalists at the sideline of the Public Hearing at the second day of Public Hearing on Petroleum Industry Bill ( PIB) 2020 organised by Senate’s Joint Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Upstream and Gas, the National President of the Oil Host Communities ( HOSTCOM), High Chief Benjamin Tamaranebi said that it has become very imperative to scrap the NNDC because all the intervention agencies established by the Federal government for the development of oil host communities had not made any reasonable impacts as far as development of the communities are concerned.
According to him, the worst of such intervention agencies is the NDDC which is more or less, cesspool of corruption as recently displayed by its management and seen by Nigerians. He said, “What government supposed to add to the new PIB, is scrapping of NDDC and establishment of Oil Host Communities Commission which will in practical terms, be very responsive to the development- needs of the various host communities.” Tamaranebi who reiterated that the proposed 2.5% in the new PIB is unacceptable to them, said, “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”
In his presentation, National Chairman, Host Communities of Nigeria (Producing Oil and Gas) HOSTCON, Prince Mike Emuh, said that they are insisting on 10% Equity Share Holding from oil companies, just as they threatened to only guarantee the security of the area if the said fund is given. According to him, the PIB must recognise the host communities as Stakeholders in the production and development of oil and gas assets, adding that the recognition will justify the responsibility on Host Communities to support production. Chief Emuh also said that the PIB should enhance peaceful and harmonious co- existence between lessors and host communities and that the Settler shall in agreement with the Host Communities incorporate a trust for the benefit of the host communities for which the Settler is responsible for the host community trust fund.
According to him, the Constitution of the host community’s development trust shall allow the host communities development trust to manage and supervise the administration of the contribution of the Settlor contemplated under the chapter and other sources of funding. He said,” the Host Community is a shareholder and should therefore get a proportion of what comes from the soil. It is easier for host communities to relate with production figures than with budgets which are prepared at the headquarter of the Settlor. This is the best practice in many operating assets in the Niger Delta that have led to peaceful operation.”
The Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Sylva tackled the people from oil host communities over percentage accruals from the various oil firms. Timipre Sylva who was responding to remarks, said that the 2.5 per cent that was proposed in the bill is fair, said,” 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.” According to him, the provisions made in the bill, are just proposals before the National Assembly and until they are passed before we can talk about them.
Giving his own remarks, the Chairman of the Joint committee, Senator Mohamned Sabo Nakudu, APC Jigawa South West who assured that all the views and submissions made by the various stakeholders will be harmonized, disclosed that the Committee will visit the oil communities for more inputs into the bill before passage.
In her presentation, representative of Women in Energy Oil and Gas, Dr Oladunni Owo called for women representation in governing bodies of the oil sector, saying that in the present governing board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, there is no single woman representation.
She said, “We have the NNPC governing council, there is no single woman in that board. It is a one-sided decision thing. We also want to get input from women. It is not about feminism or trying to compete with the men, it is by us ensuring that everyone is carried along and we get full benefits.”
The group has also called for a change of name from PIB to another against the backdrop that the world is dynamic and things have really changed. She said, “We actually do not want it to be called PIB any longer. For 20 years, it was called PIB and it was not passed. The world has moved beyond PIB. The world is talking about energy. We should also consider moving it to Energy Industry Bill as against Petroleum Industry Bill “We want to see full integrations of all streams. In Nigeria, we are focused only on upstream and that is why the country is what it is now. We are not really getting the full benefits of that oil and gas and then we import back every other thing. We treated oil and gas as a typical buy and sell commodity as against treating it as a transformational resource that will affect our educational resource, human resource, infrastructure. “In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, it is not about feminism but how we can tap into the untapped reserve which are the women in the industry.
Currently, we are about 15% and at the top level, we are just about 8%. We need to close that gap. “We are looking at the host communities in terms of the women and children. The men that came to present a lot of things about the host communities is fantastic but when you train a woman, you are training a nation. We also need them to look at the women. In the entire bill, women are only mentioned twice. (There is) no mention of female or girl in the entire 248 paged bill. That is critical. If you train a woman, the woman will tell the boy, don’t vandalize that pipeline.
“We also don’t have the leveraging on the African Continental Free Trade agreement. It doesn’t show anything that Nigeria wants to capitalize or cash in on that agreement in the PIB. “We are also looking at the gas oppose. It is huge and big. We should not just focus on LNG. What is happening with oil is what is happening with gas. So, we explore the gas and NLNG export it out. Then we don’t have power. If we actually harness the entire value chain of the gas–down stream, midstream and upstream, invest in the assets, we will have a better energy value chain in Nigeria.”