Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has said the 2.5 per cent revenue proposed for host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is grossly inadequate and unacceptable to the people of the Niger Delta.
Diri stated this on Tuesday during a town hall meeting on the bill with members of the National Assembly and stakeholders in Yenagoa.
The governor, who proposed that 10 per cent be provided for host communities, contended that if National Assembly members see firsthand the level of environmental degradation and its attendant effects on the people, they would not hesitate to make it more than 10 per cent.
Governor Diri, in a press release by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, 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-rich states.
He said: “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.
“This PIB would cure the unemployment that the oil producing communities cry about. This bill would 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.”
Diri, who decried the undue delay in the passage and implementation of the bill for about 14 years, 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 expressed regret that oil communities that bear the brunt of oil production were given no consideration while multinational oil companies and the Nigerian government were given more attention in the bill, stressing that such a situation was not in the interest of the people.
In his speech, Deputy Chairman, House Ad Hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill, Victor Nwokolo, said the PIB was from the executive arm, aimed at reforming the oil and gas industry.