Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri has said that the 2.5 per cent revenue proposed for host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was grossly inadequate and unacceptable to the people of the Niger Delta region.
The governor however proposed that 10 per cent of derived oil revenue be provided in the PIB for host communities.
Mr Diri in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, said this on Tuesday during a townhall meeting on the bill with members of the National Assembly in Yenagoa.
He argued that if the National Assembly members saw firsthand the level of environmental degradation and its attendant effects on the people, they would not hesitate to increase it from 10 per cent.
Mr Diri stressed that the PIB was critical in addressing issues such as unemployment, lack of transparency in the oil and gas sector, militarisation of oil production, skills acquisition and marginalisation of oil producing states.
“I restate our earlier submission that the 2.5 per cent proposed for the oil producing communities is grossly inadequate and unacceptable to us as a people.
“In our proposal to you, we asked for 10 per cent for the host communities.
“When you visit some of the sites where oil is being explored; that bring multi-million dollars to this country, you will even agree with me that we should increase it further from 10 per cent,” he said.
According to him, the PIB will cure the unemployment that the oil producing communities cry about.
“This bill will create jobs, accelerate skills acquisition and remove the opacity that we are seeing today in the oil and gas industry. The whole industry is shrouded somehow in secrecy,” Mr Diri said.
Mr Diri decried the undue delay in the passage and implementation of the bill for about 14 years.
He urged members of the National Assembly to ensure its passage to engender peace and development in the region and the country as a whole.
“If this bill had been passed, billions of naira used in safeguarding oil facilities would have been deployed for development purposes,” he said.
Mr Diri expressed regrets that oil communities that bear the brunt of oil production were given no consideration while multinational oil companies were given more attention in the bill.
The governor stressed that such a situation was not in the interest of the people.
Victor Nwokolo, the Deputy Chairman, House Ad Hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill, said the PIB was from the executive arm, and aimed at reforming the oil and gas industry.
He promised that they would work hard to ensure the passage of the bill before the end of May.