PIB is currently under consideration at the senate.
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has asked the National Assembly to ensure that the provisions of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) were redrafted to accommodate the interest of the host communities in the ownership of natural resources.
The Chairman of NEITI, Ledum Mitee, who presented NEITI‘s position on the PIB and the proposed host communities fund (HCF) provided for in the draft legislation at the Senate, said the lawmakers should ensure uniformity in addressing the problems of all communities located in mineral producing areas, including those in the petroleum industry.
“NEITI however believes that the preferred option is for the communities to be directly impacted by the funds through a process which pertains in the minerals sector in Nigeria, whereby the communities enter into an agreement with licensee or lease-holder, as the case may be, and agree as to terms and conditions regarding the fund,” Mr. Mitee said.
He reiterated NEITI’s position that the petroleum host communities fund should function according to the same or similar mode provided for under the existing Minerals and Mining Act, adding that there was need for clarity in the mode of administration of the fund to ensure direct impact to the benefiting community.
Mr. Mitee drew the attention of the Senate to a provision in Section 2 of the PIB, which vests in the government of the federation the entire property and control of all petroleum in, under or upon any lands within Nigeria, its territorial waters, or which forms part of its Continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone.
He explained that though that Section of the PIB conformed to the provisions of Nigeria’s constitution, there was need to recognize other tiers of government, such as states and local governments as well as Nigerian citizens as co–stakeholders.
Rather than vesting in the government the petroleum resources in the country, it should be given to the citizens of Nigeria to give them a true sense of belonging, adding that it would also be a reminder to government that it was accountable to the people for the utilization of the revenues derivable from the petroleum resources.
“NEITI’s position remains that the Section of the PIB should be redrafted to read; “The entire property and sovereign ownership of petroleum within Nigeria, its territorial waters, the continental shelf, the Exclusive Economic Zone and the extended continental shelf shall vest in the sovereign state of Nigeria in trust for and on behalf of the People of Nigeria”.
He joined other stakeholders to call for creation of strong independent regulatory institutions and deliberate effort should be made under the legislation to limit the powers of the Minister to policy formulation monitoring and oversight.