The Chief Executive Officer, Shoreline Energy Group, Mr. Kola Karim, has said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) recently passed by the National Assembly will be a game changer in the area of host community development in Nigeria.
Mr. Karim made this assertion during discussions in the 25th episode of the Nigerian History Series (NHS) hosted by the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL). The biweekly event moderated by Prof. Pat Utomi which held virtually with the theme: “Indigenous Participation in the Oil and Gas Sector Part 2, ” was monitored by Prime Business Africa.
Karim said the provision in the PIB which offers three to five percent equity shareholding to host communities of Nigerian oil producing companies, will help in encouraging community participation in the oil and gas exploration and production, and equally ensure hitch free operations and development of the host communities.
He noted that one of the major problems they have encountered over time operating in the upstream sector is how to deal with host communities who most times carryout activities that are unfavourable to business operations when not properly engaged.
“With any government, promotion of local participation in the oil and gas sector, one major issue that comes up is how do we integrate the local communities with the performances and successes or failures, because they are the major determinants of the future of our business, so that is one critical area.”
He further noted that with that provision expressly made in the PIB, “there is no chief, no big man in the communities that is going to sit on it. It is the host community, and if the host community is formed properly, the youths, the women and all stakeholders in the communities, they will ask questions and that will make them put everyone on the table; they will all participate in the actual production of oil and gas in their communities that is the game changer.”
Over the years since the advent of oil exploration, production and distribution in Nigeria, there are indications of negative factors that plagued the industry that accounts for around 90 percent of the economy, leading to loss of huge revenues by the government and other undesired outcomes, hence, the need for a reform in the form of a comprehensive legislation that will regulate activities in the industry to ensure efficiency.
Passed on Thursday July 1 2021 by the national assembly, to address various issues in the industry, the PIB which consists of five chapters, however, has some grey areas that have been generating controversies since the bill was passed. Different stakeholders and groups from the Host Communities of the Nigeria oil producing companies have rejected the provision of three percent, demanding for 10 percent equity shareholding.
Victor Ezeja is a passionate journalist with six years of experience writing on economy, politics and energy. He holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication.