By Kauthar Anumba-Khaleel, Abuja
The House of Representatives has hinted that it will next week, pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
It would be recalled that the Senate passed its version (Petroleum Industry Governance Bill) last week.
Chairman of the House committee on Petroleum (upstream), Hon. Victor Nwokolo gave the hint yesterday while speaking to newsmen during a workshop organized to sensitize members of the committee.
Nwokolo, who said that the senate passed a fraction of the bill, noted that the House version will encompass the interests of host communities and fiscal regulation of the oil industry.
He informed that the workshop was organized for members of the committee to refresh the minds on what the bill entails.
“The bill has gone through first reading and by next week, we will pass it through second reading. We are giving it accelerated attention that it requires.
“It is true, the senate has passed it but what it passed is only a fraction of it, only one-third of it; what is referred to as the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) is what they have passed but, in the case of the House, we are taken it holistically.
“As you are aware, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and Ijaw National Congress (INC) do not agree with what the Senate has done, because it does not address the issue of host communities”, he said.
The chairman noted that the essence of treating the bill in its entirety as it’s obtained in other parts of the globe where petroleum was a natural resource, like Alaska, Mexico and Venezuela where host communities were all stakeholders.
“Coming home here, look at the case of the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG), have you ever heard that NLNG is being shut down for a day? The basic reason is because they have taken care of the host community, this is what we want to address.
“When you are talking about mineral resources today, it is not only petroleum we are talking about and by the grace of God, the government is trying to give a drive towards other mineral resources, like coal that you find in Plateau, Kogi states and other areas.
“So, when you talk about host communities, it is going to be applicable to all parts of the country, so that it will not be seen as a means of empowering only the Niger Delta region or oil producing communities again.”