As part of efforts to promote understanding of the newly enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021 for effective implementation, the Moni Pulo Limited has Acommenced stakeholder interactive session on the PIA in the host communities.
At a one-day stakeholders’ interactive session on the Act held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, with the theme “The Benefits/Application of the PIA for the Implementation of Sustainable Host Community Development Trusts and the Economy’’ the Executive Chairman, Moni Pulo Limited, Dr. Mrs. Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs represented by the Manager, Admin/Community Relations Chief Daerego Clifford highlighted the benefits of the PIA to host communities, adding that the Act, like any other law, is subject to future amendments in the interest of greater economic development for host communities and the nation. He said the PIA provides a framework for accelerated action for the development of host communities and seeks to eliminate uncertainties in the legal and regulatory processes in the Petroleum Industry.
The Paramount/Natural Ruler of Mbo Local Government Area, HRM (Ogwong) Okon Asuquo Abang, in his remarks, praised the passage of the PIA after many years of legislation, noting that President Buhari has no ill intentions for oil bearing communities in signing the Act as some imagine. He therefore called on Niger Deltans to avoid making the PIA a basis for conflict in the region and made a case for an upward review from the 3% to 5% of Operating Expenses of oil firms for the Host Community Development Trusts Fund (HCDTF).
The former Commissioner for Information, Akwa Ibom State, Engr. Ita Awak on his part, observed that Nigeria, in the last years, has lost some money as a result of non-passage of the PIA, leading to lack of progress and stagnation in the petroleum industry. He noted, however, that in spite of the laudable provisions of the PIA now in place, the delivery of its inherent
benefits remains subject to the effective implementation of the Act and the crucial role of host communities towards the actualization of this goal. He further admonished members of the host communities to evade circumstances that will lead to the smooth implementation of Act by Moni Pulo Limited.
In his goodwill message, the President General of Oron Union, Bishop Etim Ante, urged Niger Deltans to become more active in monitoring the utilization of the Host
Communities Development Fund and hold its managers accountable. He said, the is aimed at empowering host communities with relevant knowledge of the PIA from the
premise that when people are empowered, they can better demand for and achieve inclusion in development. He further thanked Moni Pulo Limited for this stride when implemented will boost economic viability and physical development of the host communities.
Hon. (Dr.) John James Etim, the Honourable Commissioner for Power & Petroleum Development, Akwa Ibom State represented by Engr. Emmanuel Inyang, described the interactive session as a new beginning for Akwa Ibom State with regard to the PIA. He said his Ministry would harness the views and feelings of Akwa Ibomites through the interactive session so as to enable the state make better informed
interventions around the Act.
Barr. Asukwo Asukwo Okpo, in his remark highlighted the need for citizens to take advantage of the provisions of the Act in demanding transparency by the oil companies in the disclosure of their Operating Expenditure for the preceding year for the purpose of accurately determining what amounts to 3% that accrues to the host communities. He further stressed that, it was the responsibility of citizens to study and understand the Act and also to discuss it in meetings with friends, community members and local experts with a view to appreciating how the law can benefit them. He advised citizens to never use violence in expressing grievances against
the Act, noting that physical violence only makes one’s case bad.
Resource persons at the interactive session, Barr. Mrs. Mercy Edukugho-Amina and Barr. Uma Olugu in their separate presentations discussed over 25 benefits of the PIA to host communities and the economy as well the crucial roles of citizens in putting the Act to work for maximum benefit to all stakeholders. They also, gave explanations to clarify some misconceptions observed in the submissions of participants by drawing their attention to relevant sections of the Act and shedding light on their applications and implications.
Participants at the stakeholders’ interactive session were drawn from among traditional and community leaders, opinion leaders, Women, Youth Organisations, Regulatory Agencies, Security Agencies, Civil Society Organizations and the media.