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House Of Representatives Steps Down Petroleum Industry Bill

File photo of Members of the House of Representatives during plenary.
File photo of Members of the House of Representatives during plenary.

House of Representatives has on Thursday, July 5 stepped down controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) after an hour-long closed-door session.

Further deliberation is expected to hold over the decision while the House is on recess.

Niger Delta lawmakers, who rose and shouted at the top of their voices, said, “Give us five per cent.”

The protests continued as the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, led principal officers into the chamber at about 12noon.

The noise persisted as Gbajabiamila said the opening prayers, forcing him to order that the chamber and the gallery be cleared for an executive (closed-door) session.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, the three per cent allocation to host communities was adopted despite protests by the senators.

Read Also: PIB: Senate Adopts 3% Allocation To Host Communities As South-South Lawmakers Kick

The number in dispute is the percentage of the total operating expenses (OPEX) oil companies are expected to contribute to a trust fund created for host communities.

On Thursday, two southern senators, George Sekibo and Seriake Dickson raised concerns over the approval.

Senator Sekibo said he is not part of the vote on the allocation clause and Senator Dickson said his privilege had been breached as his views were not accommodated.

However, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan prevailed on Senator Seriake Dickson to back down on his threat to lead his colleagues to stage a walkout.

Lawan expressed that the Senate had taken a resolution on the matter and could not go back on its decision.

Host community allocation was one of the clauses left in consideration after National Assembly passed the PIB earlier this month which has sparked controversy.

Read Also: National Assembly Passes Petroleum Industry Bill After 20 Years

PIB is expected to transform Nigeria’s oil industry. The three percent is different from the 13 percent derivation fund which is paid to oil-producing communities from the federation account.

Instead, the three percent allocation will come from an entity’s actual yearly operating expenditure of the preceding financial year in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors.

All contributions will be deposited in a trust fund for host communities.

According to a draft of the PIB, the trust fund will enhance peace and cordial relationship between oil companies and host communities.

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