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National Assembly Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill in Delta State

Economy

PIB: Host Communities Deserve More Than 2.5% Equity Shares – NASS Joint Committee


By Elohor Rita Agbra

Oil producing host communities in Delta State deserve more than 2.5% equity shares from revenues accruing from oil companies in the region says National Assembly joint committee on Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.

The Co-Chairman of the committee, Mohammed Monguno, led other members in the company of the State Deputy Governor, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro to get first hand information on the level of environmental degradation in the oil producing communities in the state.

The oil producing communities in Delta state are still bedeviled with the challenges of oil spillage and pollution occasioned by oil exploration.

The communities are hopeful that the 9th Assembly will get justice for them as the Petroleum Industry Bill will provide 10% equity shares for the host communities from oil companies proceeds. However this bill suffered set back in the 8th assembly when the equity share was reduced to 5% in a fresh proposal by the government.

The delay made the host communities lose confidence in the success of the bill during a public debate on another fresh amendment before the national Assembly which slashed the equity share to 2.5%. This development has made the host communities and government reach a common ground on equity share of 10% which was facilitated by the National Assembly joint committee on PIB, hence the assessment tour to have good knowledge of the environmental degradation that has destroyed source of living in the host communities.

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Members of the committee are in Delta state to see the harrowing experience of the host communities. For over one hour of touring the riverine communities of Benekukuru, Okerenkoko in Gbaramatu kingdom in the company of the Deputy Governor, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, the National Assembly joint committee was astonished by the level destruction of aquaculture and the ecosystem.

The committee therefore concluded that no amount is too much to compensate the host communities who have over the years contributed immensely to the nation’s economy while suffering the impact of oil spillage.

The Committee Chairman, Mohammed Mungono said the clamour for development by the communities is justified and an equity share of more than 5% will be proposed in the Petroleum Industry Bill before the national Assembly.

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The Deputy Governor Deacon Kingsley Otuaro is optimistic that the visit to the riverine communities will sensitize members of the committee to the pains and abandonment of the host communities.

*Elohor Rita Agbra is a Special Adviser on Media to the Delta Deputy Governor


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