Host communities will receive half a billion dollars annually as funding from the three per cent approved for Host Communities Trust Fund in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the Senate has said.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Sen. Mohammed Sabo said this when he briefed newsmen on Thursday shortly after the senate passed the PIB.
Sabo said although the committee initially recommended five per cent to the host communities, but after consultations, discovered that three per cent would adequately take care of the communities.
“As at today, what is going to the host communities is three per cent. And three per cent translates to over half a billion dollars annually. This is a lot of money.
“The bill came with 2.5 per cent recommendation and the committee recommended five per cent.
“There were series of consultations we have to look at 2.5 per cent and five per cent.
“You have to look at the quantum of money involved. After being briefed and further explanations, we discovered that three per cent will adequately be in order in this circumstances.
“The law is not infinite. In two months, anybody can bring an amendment and we will look at it.
“We need to encourage investors to come in. The more people come to invest, the more you get three per cent,” he said.
Sabo who is also Chairman, Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) Petroleum (Upstream) and Gas further said the Bill was geared toward attracting more investments to the country.
“Some decades ago, we find it is only in Nigeria that we have oil but now we have it in Ghana, Togo and Chad.
“So if you don’t provide the incentives for investors to come in, they will go to other places and that is what has been happening.
“So our attempt in the PIB is to capture all these areas and to synergise and provide incentives for investors to come in,” he said.
Also speaking, Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Sen. Albert Bassey described the passage of the bill as a welcome development.
“We have made a bold statement to the global oil and gas industry that Nigeria is ready as a preferred destination for global oil and gas investment.
“Today, we also broke the jinx of over two decades. We have passed a bill that will be easily implementable, that will attract global competitiveness and will attract the much desired investment in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.nan”