*Over 30% allocation for frontier
*Retention of 2.5% for host community as against calls for 5%
*As Senate summons NNPC GMD; considers PIB report today
By Henry Umoru & Levinus Nwabughiogu, ABUJA
STRONG indications emerged, yesterday that South-South senators and others from the oil-producing states are poised for a showdown today as the Senate considers the report of the Joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) Petroleum (Upstream) and Gas Resources Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.
Vanguard gathered that the issue that will trigger the rowdy session is the retention of the annual contribution of 2.5 per cent actual operating cost by oil companies to the Host Community Development Trust Fund in the report that will be considered by the Senators today.
Vanguard gathered that another serious issue that may generate crisis at plenary is the hiking of a frontier Exploration Fund from 10 per cent to 30 per cent without the consent of members of the committee.
According to the source, the people of the South-South, during the oversight carried out, agreed that the fund for host communities should be raised from 2.5 percent to 5 per cent, but the committee has refused to raise it as being canvassed for but maintained it at 2.5 per cent.
The source told Vanguard that there was no public hearing where the issue of 30 per cent as frontier was discussed by the committee.
The source said: ”This PIB thing, the host community agreed for 5 per cent as against the present 2.5percent that was submitted and 5 per cent for Frontier.
“Despite the fact that we went out for oversight and all the host communities agreed for 5 percent, no one went for public hearing on Frontier and this man just gave 30 per cent for frontier.
“All the states agreed for 5 per cent and they went behind us to put 2.5 per cent for host community and 30 per cent for Frontier. They want to use the 30 per cent of the money to look for oil where there is no oil and this will affect the oil-producing companies.
“What was submitted was 2.5 per cent that should be increased to 5 per cent but the one laid on Tuesday was 2.5 per cent and not 5 per cent and this is what we will consider tomorrow ( today).”
It would be recalled that the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo Agege (All Progressives Congress, APC, Delta Central) had in October last year, assured the people of Niger Delta that the annual contribution of 2.5 per cent actual operating cost by oil companies to the Host Community Development Trust Fund would be increased to, at least, 5 per cent.
Senate summons NNPC GMD
Meanwhile, the Senate has summoned the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mele Kyari, to appear before it today to brief the lawmakers on the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.
Disclosing this, yesterday, during plenary, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the NNPC boss had been invited to address the senators on the technical and financial details of the bill before the consideration of the report today.
According to Lawan, the briefing would allow for senators, who are not members of the Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources, Downstream, Petroleum, Upstream and Gas Resources to get abreast with more information.
Reps receive report
In another development, the House of Representatives has received the final report on the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.
The report was laid before the House by the Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on PIB, Mohammed Mongunu, at plenary, yesterday.
Mongunu, in a motion, moved the House to receive the report of the Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill on a bill for an Act to Provide Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal Framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, the Development of Host Communities; and for Related Matters, 2021 and same was accepted.