By Emma Amaize,
Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HostCom, has requested presidential Executive Orders for oil companies to build Refineries and Gas Processing Plants as indemnities to host communities and producing states yet to establish Oil Producing Areas Development Commissions to do so.
HostCom in a press statement by the national president, High Chief Benjamin Style Tamanarebi and state chairmen after a three-day retreat, also proposed additional modifications and clarifications on the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which it wants the National Assembly to integrate.
On the first executive order and addendum, it stated: “We demand executive order as follows- Refineries and gas processing plants be built by operating companies as part of the social corporate responsibilities by the multinationals operating in the oil and gas producing states, and compensation to the producing communities which have suffered endless gas flaring and severe hazards of exploitation and negative exploratory impacts that have affected their environment, ecosystem, economy, cultural heritage and livelihood for over 60 years.”
“The benefits are reduction of communal crisis, youth restiveness, incessant illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism, high cost of petroleum products, and creation of employment, social advancement and sustainable development,” it said.
The statement added: “HostCom demands presidential executive order on the establishment of Oil Producing Areas Development Commission by producing states that are yet to establish it.”
“Here again, the intervention of the Presidency through the Office of the Senior Special Assistant on Niger Delta Affairs and the Minister of Finance and National Planning is required to integrate the artisanal/modular refinery operations.
“It would reduce to barest minimum crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism, kidnapping and all manner of anti-social vices to create a favourable working environment as it would increase employment, create wealth and development in the region and above all, boost the country’s economy and increase the nations GDP.
“Here again, this brings us to the issues of pipelines lifespan and third party illegal bunkering, we, therefore, demand that the operating companies should make public the mint certificates of all pipelines in the producing oil and gas states,” it asserted.
On further adjustments, HostCom said: “Consequently, witnessed and evidenced by the Joint Committee representatives as aforementioned, the inadequate definition of host communities as defined in the 2020 PIB cannot be determined by the operating company without taking into account the extent of the negative impact of the effect of exploratory activities.”
It recommended: “In Chapter 1. Part 1. Vesting of Petroleum, especially ownership as major stakeholders. A mechanism to be set up for the obtaining of approvals by the Minister in matters that affect Federation account to include the Producing States and Host Communities.
“Part 111. Sections 3, 4, 5, The Commission shall not undertake both commercial and regulatory activities at the same time. And should not temper with federation account funds such as the proposed 10% of rents on petroleum licences and petroleum mining leases which are usually in dollars. Therefore, be expunged.
“11. The Governing Board need to be expanded to accommodate each of the Producing States and HostCom representatives. Part 1V, section 34 – The Governing Board of the Authority should also be expanded to accommodate each of the Producing States and HostCom representatives.
“Section 47, Funding of the Authority: the proposed one per cent be expunged since the National Assembly appropriates funds to the Authority on a first-line charge in addition to four other sources of funds.
“Section 52, Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund should be expunged and the location of the headquarters (HQ) of the Authority be in the major petroleum-producing states.
“Part V, section 53, section (1) The Minister shall within three months at the commencement of the Act incorporate the limited liability Company; Subsection 3, ownership of all NNPC Limited shares be vested in the Government of the federation at incorporation and held by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, HOSTCOM and the Governments of the petroleum Producing States of Oil and Gas for and on behalf of the people.” subsection 6 & 7, NNPC Limited and any of its subsidiaries shall conduct their affairs on a commercial basis without recourse to government funds and their memorandum and articles of association shall state these restrictions in the Bill.
“Section 54, Transfer of Assets and Liabilities: Let it be made clear that NNPC must remain a Government National Company and any sale of shares must be with the approval of the Federal Government, the Petroleum Producing States/HostCom and the National Assembly.
“The assets NNPC controls belongs to the Federation, not the Federal Government alone. Assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC not transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiary under subsection (1) of this section, shall remain the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC until they become extinguished or transferred to the government.
“The petroleum-producing states must be given rights to the first refusal to acquire the shares since most of the assets NNPC Ltd manages are derived from petroleum, which is produced from the petroleum-producing state,” the group said.
“All the amended interpretations should also be so stated in the bill. And the headquarters of NNPC Limited, The Commission and Authority be located in the major producing oil and gas states to demonstrate government transparency and evidence to sustainable development,” the group said.
HostCom thanked all the state governors, “especially the executive governor of Bayelsa, Rivers, Abia and Imo states, who not only stood for the 10 per cent equity shareholding aspirations and position of the host communities at the Senate Joint Committee and House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee public hearing at both houses but also leveraged on the visit to their states to sponsor, provide logistics and hospitality to the joint committee members made up of members from all constituencies of Nigeria to have the first eye view of the crimes committed against the states and host communities producing oil and gas.”