By Benjamin Jimmy
Akwa Ibom host communities for oil and gas companies, on Friday, organized a stakeholders’ engagement workshop to develop a new system for the management of the 3% derivation revenue which comes from the oil companies’ operating expenses, OPEX, to trust fund created for them.
The stakeholders’ engagement also developed a communiqué which was read at the end of the workshop.
Speaking at the workshop which held at e-Library, IBB Avenue, Uyo, the state chairman of host communities, hostcom, Dr. Chris Inyang, said it became necessary to bring stakeholders together to be able to understand more the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, in relation to the 3% derivation revenue.
The chairman, who acknowledged traditional rulers in communities of Nigeria producing oil and gas as progenitors and harbingers of PIB which later metamorphosed into PIA, said the 3% derivation which emanated from PIA is a three-tier partnership between settlors, regulators and host communities, and therefore, the participants must allow the engagement to be founded on sincerity to produce workable a template.
He explained that prior to the passage of the PIA which by law, spells out 3% derivation revenue, hostcom was targeting to have 13% derivation, but when target appeared unrealistic, hostcom redirected its focus on 10% derivation.
According to the chairman, 3% was however approved by the PIA, but noted that the percentage can only succeed in creating impacts if hostcom, settlors and regulators would work sincerely.
“ Initially, when we came, we were targeting 13% derivation, but we were told it is a-no-go area. We said let’s look inwards. We discovered there is an oil flame penalty that is abound in the federation account, and as at last 15 years, it was N99 billion. It keeps accruing.
“ We were tackling that one, but we said let us look for something else. We then had to redirect our focus on 10%, but well, to console us, they gave us 3%”.
Prof. John Onwuteaka, the resource person who spoke on “ The Spirit and Letter of the PIA” and “The Implementation Template as in the Act” said “ the spirit of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 is a tripod of legal, regulatory and economics with significant implications for the Niger Delta and the Nigerian economy.
“ The Act aims to promote the prosperity and development of host communities and peaceful coexistence between licensees or lessees and the host communities”.
On the implementation of template as in the Act, Prof. Onwuteaka said “ it is important to note that the conduct of the needs assessment by the settlors includes the three pillars of environmental, social and economical, which opens the door for a gap analysis of job creation opportunities.
“ The last obligation is that the settlors are required to transfer existing host community development projects or schemes to a Host Community Development Trust Fund of which the regulator should be notified”.
Making his contribution at the workshop, Chief Executive Officer, Maxfront Technology, Mr. Simeon Inyene, said for the 3% to come to hostcom and be judiciously used to create human capital infrastructure, stakeholders must think deeply to bring a system in place.
He however, appreciated officials of hostcom for putting up the workshop, expressing optimism that information gathered would help in the way forward for hostcom.
At the end of the workshop, a communiqué was issued which is expected to form a template for the hostcom.
The over 11-points communique include; to build a social matrix or technological platform to guarantee transparency, vision and access to projects; to proffer solutions to regulators who would activate their oversight functions in as bid to keep the hostcom from exploitation; penalties should be meted to settlors or BoT who fall short of their obligations to hostcom within the ambit of the law; to do gap analysis for job opportunities to further the prosperity of hostcom; to make concerted effort to develop a think-tank to constantly engage relevant stakeholders for successive interfacing with federal government, settlors and other relevant stakeholders; that hostcom have agreed to further this template and knowledge engagement with the regulators and to engage Maxfront Technologies as a platform to consult for hostcom and other official platforms for the implementation of PIA in hostcom.
Others are; that state government should be brought into the implementation of PIA as a watch on settlors and other unsuspecting hijackers; cooperative society should be used for the implementation of labour-wages template for empowerment at the grassroots; that hostcom should be involved in the management of fund which is 3%; that hostcom should be allowed to choose BoT and control the nomination of BoT for accountability and that the state government should not have financial control over the said 3%.
The workshop had in attendance, stakeholders including; the hostcom secretary, Eld. Ben; National Officer, hostcom, Pst. Jossy Ekpe; Honorary Special Adviser on Public Relations to Governor Udom Emmanuel, High Prince Chris Abasieyo; Barr. Ekere Ekere; representatives of paramount rulers of Uruan, Ikot Abasi, Oron, among others.