6th August, 2021
By Emmanuel Mogbede
The Federal Government will engage Niger Delta oil-producing host communities on the three percent operational costs allocated to them in the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Mr Timipre Sylva, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, said this on Friday in Abuja, when a group of Ijaw elders, leaders and critical stakeholders visited him.
They visited the Minister in a bid to congratulate him on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill after 20 years of agitation.
Sylva, while tasking host communities on effective management of the funds, decried the situation where communities in the Bonny Island could not access funds paid to them by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG).
This, he noted, followed court cases instituted by some individuals.
The minister said he had extracted the commitment of multinational oil firms to relocate their operational headquarters to the Niger Delta region.
He urged elders in the region to continue to sensitise communities to secure public assets in their areas, in the interest of the people.
“We are planning, alongside the Minister of Information and Culture, to hold town hall meetings in the host communities after the presidential assent to the PIB.
“We need to have more stakeholders’ engagement on the three per cent allocated to the communities, people need to know that it is from production costs, not from profit,” he said.
He explained that the production cost was always higher than the profits.
“Today, I can tell you that we are on the last mile of the oil economy. Economies around the world are now discussing renewable fuel.
“We must understand that, very soon, we may wake up and find out that oil is not as valuable a commodity as we thought.
“Coal did not finish before the world moved away from it. There is still a lot of coal deposits in Enugu, but if you give some of it to someone, he may not appreciate it because the world has moved away from coal,” he said.
The minister said there was a need to support every effort to ensure the oil we had today, was produced and sold, so we could get the benefits.
He noted the struggled to pass the PIB which introduced a lot of uncertainties on the horizon, in the last 20 years.
This, he said, was because when “you are in the process of amending your laws, investors would hold on to see what the amendment would be.
“That was why for the last 20 years, investments in the sector were on hold.
“In 2020, there were over 50 billion dollars investments in Africa and what came to Nigeria was three billion dollars, because of the uncertainty in the sector.
“Our main challenge is resource management, if we manage the funds to the Niger Delta, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) 13 per cent derivation, three per cent host communities funds and even the one from the amnesty programme, we won’t have some of the issues currently confronting us.”