The Nigerian Senate has on Thursday 15th July, 2021, passed the harmonised Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which was tendered last week by the conference committee, comprising of both chambers of the Assembly. ayokinews.com reports
Following the approval of the harnonised bill the senators from the South South region of the country protested against the proposed three per cent (3%) equity share for the oil host communities.
Senotor Seriake Dickson further threatened to lead a walkout along with his colleagues in the house but was prevailed upon by the Senate President who made him back down on his threat.
A member of the conference committee during an inquiry told PUNCH that the consensus was reached following a tensed and heated debate in the house.
According to him, “The National Assembly may stick with the 3 per cent equity share for the host communities, when the Petroleum Industry Bill is eventually laid and discussed on the floor of both chambers tomorrow (Thursday).
“You will recall that when both chambers of the National Assembly deliberated on the PIB report, the House of Representatives approved five per cent while the Senate gave three per cent.
“This differential warranted both chambers to set up harmonisation committee, which would submit its report on Thursday.
“Our committee adopted the Senate recommendation of three per cent for the host communities.”
Speaking on the reason for the reduction of 5% to 3%, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream Sector), Senator Sabo Mohammed Nakudu, stated that the percentage the earlier percentage was 2.5% and was increased to 5% and was reduced after the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, explained that 5% was to much.
The senate spokesman Senator Ajibola Bashiru, also added that “on the three per cent that was approved for the upstream operating expenditure, from the projection made by the NNPC GMD, who briefed us, it will amount to $502.8m for the host community development fund.
“That is a huge amount of money that we believe the host community will definitely benefit from.
“So, the three per cent operating expenditure will annually amount to $502.83m.
“The initial projection was 2.5 per cent and it was increased to 3 percent. The caveat is that we can always amend the bill as time goes on.”