By Gift Chapi Odekina
Following the passage of the petrolum Industry Bill the National Assembly, the lawmaker representing
Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru-West Federal Constituency in Imo State at the House of Representatives, Kingsley Chima, has highlited benefits host communities will enjoy from the newly passed PIB.
Chima, who is a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on PIB, said the bill, when it eventually becomes law, would provide an organised governance policy in the petroleum industry, adding that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill is the greatest achievement of the 9th National Assembly.
Chima while speaking with journalists, in Abuja, on the benefits said that with the five percent equity approved for the host communities in the bill, some of the developmental challenges faced by host communities in the oil producing areas before now would be adequately addressed.
According to the lawmaker, PIB would make the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation accountable to Nigerians as well as make more money available to host communities.
He explained that five per cent of operational cost by oil companies would be exclusively reserved for the host communities and would no longer be sent by proxy.
“Section 240 is talking about the host communities and these host communities today are singing music of joy because we have given impetus and powers and provided enabling environment for you to participate in your own resources.
“What this means is that five percent of operational cost by oil companies have been exclusively reserved for the host communities and by host communities.
“The five percent would no longer be sent in proxy. These monies would be sent directly to a fund which would be established by the same host communities and which will be managed by the same host communities.
“So, we would not have a situation where the host communities would say that they did not get their due share from oil exploration.
“So this fund would be sent to the host communities, deductible from source. What it means is that you do not need to go begging for the money to be released to you.”e
Chima further noted that the PIB would create effective production, proper management, transparency and good governance in the sector.He said,
“The greatest achievement of the 9th House of the National Assembly is the passage of the PIB. If you recall, you would agree with me that this bill has been in the cooler for over a decade and what it means is that there may have been issues of disagreements and grey areas; areas that are not actually agreeable by all the stakeholders.
“It got to a point where too many people actually invested so much, either regional, political, religious or even economic interests, in trying to adduce their reason for not actually passing the bill. But yesterday (Thursday), the bill was given the greatest ovation anybody could think of in the National Assembly.“An overwhelming 99.9 per cent of the members on the floor – if not 100 per cent – agreed with the content of the bill as actually recommended by the PIB committee.
That is to say the 9th Assembly under the leadership of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has actually given flesh and life to the corporate governance of our oil sector.
”Chima said, “Section 53 made mention of having an NNPC that would be accountable to the people of Nigeria. That will guarantee the immediate registration, upon assenting to this bill by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having what we will call NNPC Ltd.
“It will now be vested with the responsibility of making sure that the profit accruable from explorations in this country will be moved to the Federation Account as quickly as possible”,he said.