• Host communities insist on 10% royalty
From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
Amid allegations of exclusion of critical stakeholders from ongoing reforms of the oil sector, four standing committees of the Senate will resume a public hearing on the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) next Wednesday. Four Senate standing committees: Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream), Gas and Judiciary, Legal and Human Rights, were mandated to meet with the public, collate inputs before passage of the new oil law.
A two-day public hearing commenced in July 2013 and ended after Senate suspended legislative business for the burial of Senator Pius Akpor Ewherido same day, as the second day of the PIB public hearing of the joint committee.
Critical stakeholders including host communities, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had kicked against the abrupt end of the Senate public hearing.
Other stakeholders invited to the public hearing but could not make any presentations were the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), among others.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, Chairman of the joint committee who also doubles as the chairman of the Petroleum Resources Committee (Upstream), Senator Paulker Emmanuel, explained that the upper legislative chamber decided to convene another public meeting with all stakeholders in the petroleum and gas industry in the country, “because our desire in the Senate is that the new oil law will be an aggregate of opinions in the oil and gas industry.
He added: “The joint committee decided this time around, to involve all stakeholders in the oil sector before the report is presented to the whole Senate for consideration so that at the end of the day, when the new law is passed, nobody would complain they were left out.”
At the July 18 public hearing, only the governors of Niger and Kaduna states appeared before the joint committee out of the 36 invited while 34 state governors stayed away and did not send representatives either.
The two state governments were represented by their Attorneys General and Commissioners for Justice, Abdullahi Bawa and Jonathan Kish respectively.