…Says there’s more to 3% hostcom fund

By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja

The Nigerian Association of Energy Economics, NAEE, has rated the Petroleum Industry Bill PIB, highly despite criticism from oil bearing communities over the provision of just three percent of annual expenditure of operating company as development fund.

The President of NAEE, Prof. Yinka Omoregbe told journalists on Saturday in Abuja ahead of NAEE 14th annual conference on Monday that though not perfect, the PIB was an important step in the reform process of the oil and gas industry.

While calling for calm, Omoregbe said it was impossible for the bill to satisfy everybody, noting that there are several provisions in the PIB that are great.

According to her, “We are happy that there is a PIB, what we are looking forward to is a PIA, which is the Petroleum Industry Act because we have been here before. Once we cross this bridge then we would have crossed a mighty hurdle.

“We now need to implement. I am always very nervous when somebody say lets go and rewrite because that is what has caused these delay. Somebody looks at it and says it has not covered my interest so let rewrite it.

“We cannot get a perfect Bill, it will always be controversial but we must throw away the baby and the bath water. There is a lot that is good in the PIB.

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“If you talking about 5 percent ad 30 percent, sometimes I want to cry because, the question should be 5 percent of what and 30 percent of what?

“Until you know the what, you are actually comparing apples and oranges. We are talking of 5 percent of expenditure of the operator in the  preceding year. We should be dealing with the figures. Are they good or bad?

“It is totally different from 30 percent of rent, rents that come up in the course of operations. Rents that are paid by operating companies or 30 percent of profit oil or profit gas. How much are we talking about?

“There are a lot there in the PIB. Both are not the same thing because rent is a smaller amount”, she added.

Prof Omoregbe said the conference with the theme: ‘Strategic responses of the Energy Sector to  Covid-19 impact on African economies’ would how the sector dealt with the pandemic.

In his intervention, a former President of NAEE and Director, Centre for Energy and Law, University of Ibadan, Prof. Adeola Adenikinju said the conference would have policy makers, industry leaders and academics in attendance.

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