….As Minister berates Kinsmen for rejecting 2.5% derivation for Host Communities
By Ignatius Okorocha
The oil host communities in the Niger Delta region have asked the Federal government to scrap Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC).
The called came at the second day of Public Hearing on Petroleum Industry Bill PIB) 2020, organised by Senate’s joint Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Upstream and Gas.
This is even as the Minister of State , Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, tackled his kinsmen from oil host communities over Percentage accruals from the various oil firms.
Fielding questions from journalists at the sideline of the Public Hearing on Tuesday, the National President of the Oil Host Communities ( HOSTCOM), High Chief ( Dr) Benjamin Style Tams , said all the intervention agencies established by federal government for the development of oil host communities , had not made any reasonable impacts as far as development of the communities are concerned.
Accordimg to him, the worst of such intervention agencies is the NDDC which is more or less , cesspool of corruption as recently displayed by it’s management and seen by Nigerians .
” What government supposed to add to the new PIB , is scrapping of NDDC and establishment of Oil Host Communities Commission which will in practical terms, be very responsive to the development- needs of the various host communities”, he said .
He added by insisting that 2.5% proposed in the new PIB is unacceptable to them .
” What we want is 10% equity remittance from the various oil firms to respective host communities as proposed in the PIB considered in the 7th National Assembly but not assented to.
” It is even very annoying that having reduced the 10% to 5% in the last bill considered by the 8th National Assembly , it is further slashed to 2.5% in the current bill .
” This is not acceptable to us as host communities of the oil producing firms . The 10% earlier proposed must be worked upon if the bill is to be acceptable to the various communities bearing the brunt”, he fumed.
Reacting to the submission in another interview the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva said the 2.5 per cent that was proposed in the bill is fair.
His words: ” I speak advisably as a member of the Host Community myself. If you have to look at it properly, you will see that 10 per cent of profit is different from 10 per cent of the operation cost from the various oil firms .
“Before now, you had the provision of 10 per cent of profit and profit means that if I don’t declare it, you don’t have anything. I can decide to say 100 per cent of profit and not declare any profit, so you don’t get anything.
“But in this case, it’s 2.5 per cent of the OPEX. So, at the end of the year, you look at your operating cost and take 2.5 per cent of that cost to the budget of the next year.
“As far as we are concerned, we have made a very fair proposal. Fair to the host communities, to the country and to the oil companies”
He added that provisions made in the bill, are just proposals before the National Assembly and until they are passed before we can talk about them.
In his closing remarks , the Chairman of the joint committee , Senator Mohamned Sabo Nakudu ( APC Jigawa South West), said all the views and submissions made by the various stakeholders , will be harmonized .
He disclosed that the Committee will visit the oil communities for more inputs into the bill before passage .