Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has called on Oil and Gas companies in the country to sensitise host communities and stakeholders on the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act.
Okowa said that such sensitisation would help to strengthen ties between host communities, oil companies and other stakeholders to boost oil production in the country.
He stated this in his remarks at the Ogiame Atuwatse III Economic Summit, held at the Olu of Warri Palace, Aghofen-Warri, at the weekend.
Representated by the State Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Prince Emman Amgbaduba, Governor Okowa commended the Warri monarch for the laudable initiative of hosting the summit, saying the decisions reached at the summit would help in the implementation of the PIA.
According to him, this summit is coming at the right time and will foster better understanding of the provisions relating to the Host Community Development Trust of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
“The PIA was signed into law in August 2021 by the National Assembly with the expectation of it being fully implemented in our diverse host communities after 12 months.
“It is pertinent to intimate all stakeholders in Iwereland of the transition from the era of Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) because of its numerous benefits, which include but not limited to: – offering of three percent of the annual operating cost of the Investor, (known as the Settlor in the PIA), for development initiatives of host communities.
“To provide direct social and economic benefits from petroleum operations to our host communities; and erection of grievance mechanism structures to resolve conflicts between Settlors and host communities amongst others.
“I have no doubt that this summit will aid your understanding in managing and supervising the annual contribution of the Settlor with regards to your different host community empowerment programmes, infrastructural development, healthcare development, educational development, and environmental development.
“Our Investors are not left out in the matrix of conveniently achieving the goals of fully implementing the PIA. It is my earnest expectation that all Settlors will fully comply with the provisions of the law in the interest of all stakeholders.
“I encourage all oil companies to embark upon the sensitization of their host communities on the PIA with a view to strengthening ties amongst all stakeholders and I also wish to call on other host communities to emulate this good example of Iwereland,” Okowa stated.
He emphasized that the current benefits from the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) may not be to the best of aspirations of host communities now, but reiterated that with time there will be opportunity to make amends for the better.
Chief Executive Officer of Upstream, Midstream and Downstream sector Gbenga Komolafe assured participants that the guidelines for the implementation of the PIA will be out by the end of June 2022.
Earlier, Olu of Warri Ogiame Atuwatse III in his remarks said it was his earnest expectation that the forum would help build capacity and enhance mutual cooperation for accelerated sustainable development in host communities of Iwereland.
“The driving spirit and recurring theme of the PIA, is inclusion and the support of local initiatives for the security of the host communities.
“As a result, each one has equal access to not only opportunities, but resources, as would otherwise have been the case where some are marginalised or outrightly excluded from the wealth that belongs to us all.
“We intend that The Iwereland Global Masterplan will be so eell put together, that all arms of government and intervention agencies become fully committed to being a part of that plan.
“We will discourage idleness and a sense of entitlement, while encouraging competence and all that brings added value to the effort.
“We assure government, companies, non-governmental organisations and regulatory authorities, that we are well aware that our job is to make Iwereland more hospitable for business – whether Energy or otherwise – no matter the obstacles thrown our way,” he said.
Representatives of the Oil companies Mr. Igo Wali for SPDC and Brikins Esimaje of Chevron Nigeria Limited both commended the king for being the first to organise such a knowledge-based summit for his people in Nigeria.