Indications have emerged that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) may suffer setback if the Federal Government fails to approve the 10 per cent of operational gains being demanded by the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM.)
While the government proposed 2.5 per cent share for HOSTCOM in the bill being considered at the National Assembly, leaders of oil producing communities rejected it and are insisting on 10 per cent equity share holding.
President of HOSTCOM, Benjamin Style Tamaranebi, who spoke in Abuja at a media briefing yesterday, argued that 10 per cent equity share for the host communities in the PIB would bring lasting peace to the communities.
He wondered why Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, accepted the 2.5 per cent being proposed in the bill, insisting that 2.5 per cent was not acceptable, no matter the strength of government’s argument.
He said the vandalism of pipelines and youth restiveness that had been hampering production in the region would continue if government failed to approve the 10 per cent.
He, however, said if the 10 per cent was guaranteed, the communities would own the projects due to their stake, thereby mounting security to prevent any damage.
“At the public hearing on the bill in the Senate last week, we made a clear presentation to this effect and also attempted doing so at House of Representatives on Thursday before one Mike Emu sponsored by those against our position assaulted me physically.
“As responsible people, we apologise on behalf of the oil and gas producing communities to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly over the fight orchestrated by Emuh, who is an expelled member of HOSTCOM.
But as far as the PIB is concerned, for it to succeed and guarantee safety for the operational companies in all the communities and give them equity participation and required sense of belonging, the 10 per cent equity share must be honoured,” he stated.
He said Sylva should keep his 2.5 per cent operational cost (OPEX), as the host communities were not morons or beggars asking for peanuts or grants from anybody.
He added that the peace being enjoyed across the Nine oil producing state was because of their hope of fairness and equity they see in PIB, which unfortunately was being dashed with the offer of 2.5 per cent to the host communities.
“The world is transiting from fossil fuel (petroleum) to gas, indicating a new world order that will require favourable working environment for all stakeholders, which leaders of the host communities are ready to guarantee, if the Federal Government does needful,” he added.