The forum of governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving his presidential assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill which has ultimately become an Act.
Despite criticisms trailing the review of allocation for the proposed Host Communities Development Trust from five to three per cent by both chambers of Parliament and the dedication of 30 per cent profit of yet to be unveiled Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to the exploration of oil and gas in the Frontier Basins, the Progressive Governors Forum said the federal government has made ample provisions for the Niger Delta region.
Kebbi State governor and Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, (PGF) Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, in a statement, on Wednesday, maintained that Petroleum Industry Act signed into law was a win-win situation for the oil-producing states.
The position taken by the Forum of APC Governors appears to reject the resolution of the Southern Governors which at its meeting last month rejected the provision of three per cent for the host Communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill before it was passed into law.
The Southern Governors which has Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu as Chairman also rejected the ownership structure of the proposed Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC).
The Forum disagreed that the company be vested in the Federal Ministry of Finance and suggested that it ” should be held in trust by Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) since all tiers of Government have stakes in that vehicle.”
But Governor Bagudu in a statement recalled that aside from the 3 per cent for the proposed Host Communities Development Trust, the South-south states already enjoy 13% derivation apart from funds allocated to the federal government intervention agency, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Kebbi State governor equally defended the creation of Frontier Exploration Fund with 30% of NNPC Limited profit for hydrocarbon exploration in the Frontier Basins.
The PGF Chairman further argued that the contentious provision was meant to “guarantee exploration activities in the country beyond discretionary decisions of the management of the new NNPC Limited.”
He said: “In addition, the Act also created a Host Communities Development Trust to be managed by Board of Trustees. As provided by the Act, 3 per cent of the profit from the operations of oil and gas businesses will be used for the development of the host communities. It is noteworthy that this is in addition to the existing 13 per cent derivation to oil-producing states and funds allocated to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which Mr President has continuously emphasised that all the resources must be put to judicious use for the benefits of the people in the oil-producing areas.
“Similarly, Part III, Section 9 (4) and (5) of the Petroleum Industry Act provides for the creation of “a Frontier Exploration Fund which shall be 30% of NNPC Limited’s profit oil and profit gas as in the production sharing, profit sharing and risk service contracts.” This is a provision made to ensure that NNPC Limited transfers 30% to the Frontier Exploration Fund dedicated to the development of oil exploration activities in all parts of the country subject to appropriation by the National Assembly. This provision will guarantee exploration activities in the country beyond discretionary decisions of the management of the new NNPC Limited.”
While commending the National Assembly and the Presidency for the emergence of the PIA which it described as a milestone, the APC Governors further described the new Act as a “convincing credential of the commitment of our party, All Progressives Congress (APC), to restructure Nigerian economy through a democratic process in line with provisions of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended.”
The statement further read in part:” Even critics of our party, APC, and our governments cannot ignore the fact that the coming into law of the Petroleum Industry Act is an important democratic milestone. It signposts the commitment of our party and our government to develop the oil and gas sector and resolve all the challenges associated with the operations of the sector. With the new Act, there should be a remarkable improvement in revenue collection from the oil and gas sector. This is expectedly the Next Level governance initiatives our party has promised Nigerians during the 2019 campaigns.
“The PGF congratulates Mr President for achieving this important milestone. We pledge our commitment to support the process of transition to the new era of oil and gas operational and management as provided by the new Petroleum Industry Act 2021. We remain committed to a democratic process of negotiating the reform of our Republic to make it more responsive to the needs of Nigerians. Similarly, we are indeed more confident that the ongoing process of Constitutional Amendment in the National Assembly, will produce more reforms of the structures of the Nigerian economy.
“Accordingly, the PGF would continue to collaborate with the National Assembly and the Federal Government to mobilise public understanding to accelerate the process of change in the country. Through our engagements with the leadership of the National Assembly, we would also continue to provide all the needed support to enhance the already existing synergy between both the executive and legislative arms of government. We will continue to draw lessons from President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership and take all the necessary steps to replicate it in our respective states.
“Once again, congratulations to President Muhammadu Buhari, Distinguished Senator Ahmed Lawan, Senate President, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, members of the National Assembly as well as public servants for providing the leadership to achieve this important landmark in Nigeria’s economic and political management of the oil and gas industry.”
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