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Nigeria: Oil Workers Ask Nigerian Government to Clarify Payment to Communities H

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Oil workers in Nigeria have asked the federal government to stipulate how host communities will get their entitled funds in the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.

The oil workers, under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, asked the government to ensure that the structure and mode of disbursement of the Petroleum Host Community Fund (PHCF) were stipulated in the PIB.

The National Industrial Relations officer of PENGASSAN, Chika Onuegbu, said on Wednesday that the call was being jointly made with the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG.

Mr. Onuegbu said that the mode and structure of the fund disbursement to host communities were not detailed in the PIB as well as the functions and objectives.

"There must be clear provisions on the administration of the fund including such provisions, allowing the communities to decide for and by themselves the value-adding projects required by the respective communities.

"We believe that the PHCF should include not just oil producing communities, but all communities hosting oil and gas resources and assets including downstream infrastructure," he said.

"This is because the entire value chain of the oil and gas industry has peculiar health, safety, environmental and community related problems.

"A mechanism can then be developed to determine each asset's criticality with the producing communities obviously being the most critical," he said.

Mr. Onuegbu said that no part of the country hosting any oil and gas resources, asset or facilities, would feel short-changed as it would derive socio-economic benefits from being a host.

He said the PIB was ambiguous on whether contributions by companies along oil and gas value chain to the PHCF would constitute immediate credit to total fiscal rent obligations.

He said that the PIB should be clear on such issues, adding that the fund's provision in the PIB was polarised along political, regional and ethnic interests.

PHCF laws propose that oil producing companies pay 10 per cent of their profits to the PHCF to provide socio-economic infrastructure in the host communities.

The communities are not to draw from the fund if there is sabotage of petroleum facilities in their domain.

(NAN)

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