By Udeme Akpan
THE Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HOSCOM, weekend, proposed the dedication of 10 per cent of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, profit for oil activities in the Frontier basins.
In the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which seeks to provide Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal Framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, the Development of Host Communities; and for related matters, currently being reviewed by the Senate and the House of Representatives joint committee, the legislators had proposed 30 per cent.
Specifically, the PIB, had stated: “The Frontier Exploration Fund shall be 10% of rents on petroleum prospecting licences and 10% rent on petroleum mining leases; and 30% of NNPC Limited’s profit oil and profit gas as in the production sharing, profit sharing and Risk service contracts. The fund shall be applied to all Basins and undertaken, simultaneously. NNPC Limited shall transfer the 30% of profit oil and profit gas to the frontier exploration fund escrow account dedicated for the development of frontier acreages only.”
But in a telephone interview with Vanguard, weekend, the National Chairman, HOSCOM, Dr. Mike Emuh, said: “I want to advise the Oil companies, the Federal Government, and National Assembly to revisit the issue of Frontier Basins, 30 per cent is just too much, they should consider 10 per cent.”
Also referring to the oil companies as Setlors, he said: “A tenant cannot become an automatic landlord. And so, the provision favouring Setlors, the oil companies to become landlords and have certificates of occupancy should be revisited.
“I think the clause, which states that oil communities will be held responsible for damages done to pipelines and other assets should also be removed.”
These notwithstanding, he said the passage of PIB is a good development, and urged all stakeholders to be united and peaceful in carrying out a few changes, targeted at making it better.
He said: “Nigerians and Niger Deltans should appreciate what we started. The PIB is coming after 13 years, having been sent by the late President Musa Yar’Adua to the National Assembly.”
“So, on behalf of the National Body of the HOSCOM, led by His Excellency, King Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, founding father, High Chief, Dr. Wellington Okrika and myself as National Chairman, we want to say congratulations to the Niger Deltans and the Host Communities. It is the first time the law, involving the establishment of HOSCON Trust Fund Commission, and Gas flare penalty is being promulgated in their direct favour.”
The Chairman, who noted that with unity and peace, all problems would be conquered now and in future, said: “I think the problem of the Niger Delta is disunity, disrespect for leadership. But, we have come to learn our lessons that we need to come in unison to operate together. Life is made of problems. Whatever comes, we will conquer it.”