By Okey Ndiribe & Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—CHAIRMAN, House of Representatives Committee on Inter-Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Daniel Reyenieju, has advised fellow lawmakers not to be teleguided by the Federal Government and multinational oil companies while deliberating on the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.
Reyenieju, who gave the advice, weekend, also accused critics of the Petroleum Host Community Fund, PHCF, in the Petroleum Industry Bill of being shortsighted, hasty and economical with the truth.
Reyenieju, who represents Warri Federal Constituency of Delta State, said that those kicking against the inclusion of the Fund in the PIB were treating it as though it were a provision designed to benefit a particular region of the country.
PIB not regional
Accordoing to him, it was wrong for anyone to treat the PIB as a legislation for the Niger Delta or South-South geo-political zone, as oil could be found anywhere and anytime in Nigeria.
He said: “Unfortunately, what people do not understand is that as soon as oil is found in any community anywhere in Nigeria, that community becomes a host community and will equally benefit from the ten per cent revenue that will accrue to the Petroleum Host Community Fund. It is not a pro-South-South clause but a clause that will apply to virtually every state or region in Nigeria that oil may be found in their environment. It is not a regional bill.
“You will recall that about four months ago, Anambra joined the league of oil bearing states and immediately Mr. President declared that the state was now qualified to benefit from the 13 per cent derivation from oil revenue.
If Anambra was among states that were against the derivation principle in the past, now it has become a beneficiary. So also Benue, Sokoto or Borno could be a beneficiary.
“The Host Community Fund is healthy and should not be jettisoned. No aspect of that bill should be domesticated to a particular region because I believe that oil can be found in any part of the country.”
The legislator, however, joined the fray over the enormous powers which the PIB has proposed for the minister and President and demanded a reduction of those powers.
He said royalties and signature bonuses were two major sources of revenue to the Federal Government, warning that they must not be left to the whims and caprices of the minister to dictate the terms.
Essence of bill
Reyenieju explained that the essence of the bill was to create a new NNPC that will be run as a pure business venture that could go to the stock market where people could buy shares and make investments in the company.
“So you don’t need to subject an unbundled NNPC to normal annual budgetary ritual to get funds to run it,” he said.