The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has said the National Assembly and other stakeholders settled for 3 per cent for Host Communities Fund in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) because that is what will attract more investments into oil-producing areas.
Speaking while hosting Ijaw elders in his office in Abuja on Friday, Sylva said fixing the host community fund above 3 per cent would scare away investors and force the remaining few to introduce sharp practices in the sector.
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“Everything was weighed before 3 per cent was settled on. Please, tell our people to take the 3 per cent, it is in our collective interest. If we put the fund at 10 per cent, the oil companies will only add it to their operational cost and that consequence would come back to the country,” the minister said.
He said already, foreign investors are still dragging their feet to come to Nigeria because of some uncertainties in the industry before the PIB.
Out of $50bn oil and gas investments that came to Africa last year, the minister disclosed that only $3bn came to Nigeria because foreign investors weren’t so sure of the investment climate in the country.
He also disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the building of a riverine oil depot in Bayelsa to make petroleum products readily available in the riverine areas.
Earlier, the leader of the Ijaw Elders’ delegation, Chief Timi Kay Ogoriba, said their visit would afford them the opportunity to address issues that were generated by the passage of PIB.