House of Reps Extends Petroleum ‘Host Community’ Funds To Entire Nigeria

House of Reps Extends Petroleum ‘Host Community’ Funds To Entire Nigeria

Femi Gbajabiamila, Ayodele Oladimeji, Education
File Photo

On Thursday, May 14, 2015 the House of Representatives approved a clause in the Petroleum Industry Bill that includes the entire country as “host community” of petroleum resources.

This implies that all “upstream and downstream” communities in the country would now benefit from the “Petroleum Host Community Fund” proposed in the PIB.

From the Executive arm of the Nigerian government in the original version of the bill, the PHCF was proposed to assist in cushioning the effects of oil exploration activities on oil producing communities.

According to the bill, oil companies are to contribute 10 per cent of their net profit to the Fund.

However, the house AdHoc Committee on the PIB amended the beneficiaries of the PHCF including all parts of the country rather than restricting it to oil communities alone.

Mr Ishaka Bawa, Chairman of the committee as he was elaborating further on the recommendation, he disclosed  to the members of the lower House of Assembly that communities with refineries or have oil pipelines running through them, were automatically “host communities”

He said that “It means that even states, where there are refineries or there are pipelines are host communities.

“It is beyond oil producing communities”

Exceptions to this new development were states like Sokoto and Kebbi, Bawa revealed.

However the passing of this recommendation was not without protests.

Various Niger Delta lawmakers, led by Mr. Leo Ogor, seemed to want the original proposal retained.

He reasoned that the  recommendation of the committee might face severe challenges of implementing the bill because of what Ogor called “many technicalities that will hinder progress.”

He also insisted that the Lower Chamber would have to restore the original provision.

Unfortunately for his plea, the majority of his colleagues were in support of the motion.

The 10 per cent contribution paid to PHCF was reduced to 7.5 per cent by the House.

Be it as it may, oil companies are still expected to carry out corporate social responsibilities in host communities to make up for the reduced monetary contribution.

The house later adjourned further consideratons attached to the bill till Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

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