House of Reps pass Petroleum Industry Bill, pegs 5% for host community trust fund

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Story from Kenneth AFOR, Lagos

The long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has been passed by Nigeria’s House of Representatives, approving a 5 per cent trust fund for oil-producing communities.

This is coming barely 24 hours after the green chamber received the report on the bill.

The bill scaled the final stage on Thursday after Mohammed Monguno, chairman of the ad hoc committee on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), presented a report and the lawmakers voted on 319 clauses of the bill.

Before the bill was passed Monguno noted that the ninth house would have succeeded in enacting important legislation.

He said the bill seeks to bring governance issues in the oil and gas sector in line with the international best practices.

According to him, the bill would make the oil and gas industry more transparent and competitive.

After the lawmakers approved the bill clauses, Femi Gbajabiamila commended his colleagues for their commitment to passing the bill, a feat achieved by the green chamber who wasted no time to give it legal backing that was different from that of the Senate.

The section allocates 2.5 per cent of the operational expenditure from the oil companies to host communities — but the lawmakers raised it to 5 per cent.

The amended section reads: “Each settlor, where applicable through the operator, shall make an annual contribution to the applicable host community development trust fund of an amount equal to 5% of its actual annual operating expenses of the preceding financial year in the upstream and in the midstream and downstream in respect of all petroleum operations affecting the host communities for which the applicable host community development trust fund was established.”

The PIB was first presented to the National Assembly in 2008 but failed to be passed by successive administrations and the National Assembly.

The harmonised version, the petroleum industry governance bill (PIGB) – almost a year after the Senate passed the bill.

However, the PIGB was rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari for “legal and constitutional reasons.”

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