BENIN CITY, NIGERIA. July 5, 2021…. Frontline campaigner for the Passage of Petroleum Industry Bill and Executive Director,Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Rev David Ugolor has lauded both chambers of the National Assembly for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, calling for the reduction of 30 percent oil exploration to 10% and retention of House of Reps’ version that provides 5 per cent allocation to host oil producing communities before it is sent to the president for assent.
The Executive Director of ANEEJ and founding Chair of Publish What You Pay Nigeria, the Rev David Ugolor who led Civil Society Organisations across the country campaigning for the passage of the PIB since 2005 expressed joy that after almost 20 years of campaign by Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, the PIB was finally passed into law by the 9th National Assembly.
“Overall, the passed bill will provide for greater transparency and accountability and restore investors’ confidence in our oil and gas industry. It is good that the NNPC will now be a Limited Liability Company where it has to shape up or shape out. Companies/Operators are entitled to decent Returns on Investment (ROIs) to encourage current and fresh investments and by extension, the growth and development of the industry,” Ugolor said.
The Environmental activist, however, wants the harmonization committee of both Houses of the National Assembly to uphold the House of Representatives version which provides 5% operational cost for host communities under sections 83, 104-108 of the Bill and that the version of the Senate should be jettisoned as even the 5% is a far cry from the 10% envisaged for oil bearing communities that have continued to suffer environmental degradation, pollution and loss of livelihoods to oil extraction activities. “This demand is modestly anchored on the fact that all jurisdictions with oil-producing communities have one form of beneficiation mechanism or another to compensate the hosts,” Ugolor said.
Rev Ugolor queried the provision of 30 per cent of operational costs of the new entity to oil exploration activities in basins where billions of dollars have been wasted over the years without any valuable discovery. “We want the harmonization committee to reduce this cost to 10 per cent because billions of dollars allocated for this purpose went down the drain, before it is presented for presidential assent,” Ugolor further demanded.
The ANEEJ boss while congratulating the leadership of both Houses of the National Assembly for the passage of the PIB called on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill, once received from the NASS, subject to the corrections of issues raised.