Nigerian governor calls for increasing share of oil benefits for host communities

An oil tanker sits offshore in the San Francisco Bay Area, the United States, April 26, 2020. More than 30 oil tankers carrying over 20 million barrels of crude oil are parked between Long Beach and the San Francisco Bay Area. (Photo by Li Jianguo/Xinhua)
(Photo by Li Jianguo/Xinhua)

A Nigerian state governor on Tuesday called for increasing share of benefits from oil industry for host communities in the upcoming Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Speaking at the end of a governors’ meeting in the southern city of Port Harcourt, Ifeanyi Okowa, chairman of the South-South Governor’s Forum and governor of Delta state, said there should be an upward review from 2.5 percent to 10 percent appropriated to the Trust Fund for host oil communities in the long-awaited oil reform bill.

The PIB, which has been debated for over a decade in the country, aims to improve transparency and attract investors in the industry, to stimulate economic growth and increase government revenues in the oil rich country.

According to local media, the bill was presented to the national assembly for debate last year by the federal government.

“We have discussed with our people and collectively as leaders of the people in our various states and as leaders standing in on behalf of our people, we urge the National Assembly to increase the provision in the host community fund from 2.5 percent to 10 percent,” Okowa said.

“This is in the best interests of our communities and the nation,” he added.

The governor maintained that the host communities would be watchdogs of oil facilities on behalf of the federal, state governments and oil companies if satisfied with the provision of the trust fund.

“A peaceful environment in the various oil communities would enable us to have greater and seamless production, without any form of disruption going into the future,” he added.

The Nigerian government in January 2021 rejected a proposal by communities in the Niger Delta that their revenues from hosting upstream activities in their locales should be four times higher than the 2.5 percent of operating expenditure stated in the PIB.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva opposed the demand, arguing the proposed 2.5 percent provision in the PIB is reasonable. Enditem

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