Uzodimma reacts as Buhari, NASS pass PIB Act

…Says Act will help regulate environmental hazards.

Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the courage to ensure that the Petroleum Industry Bill is passed into law.

He said that by assenting to the Bill, the President succeeded in breaking the jinx of the old 1969 Petroleum Act begging for amendment over the years.

Speaking in a live programme on Channels Television Tuesday, Governor Uzodimma also congratulated members of 9th National Assembly for working hard to ensure that the PIB eventually becomes a law.

“I am excited over the Petroleum Act. I commend the NASS and President Muhammadu Buhari for a job well done, and particularly Mr.President for breaking the jinx of the 1969 Petroleum Act as enacted,” the Governor said.

Governor Uzodimma listed the gains of the Petroleum Act to include regulation of environmental hazards, creation of room for value addition to oil bearing communities and the oil companies, and generally, the ability to engender a value chain in the oil sector.

Governor Uzodimma also reasoned that 3% assented for the oil bearing communities should not be the focus of the Petroleum Act.

“All over the World Corporate Organizations have a responsibility to embark on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We don’t even need a law for oil operating companies to know that when the community is not happy it will affect production.”

According to the Governor, creating a conducive working environment will enhance return on investment and create a win win situation for both oil companies and host communities.

His words. “It is not about 3 per cent or even 10 per cent or more. To me, it is not about money, it is more about return on investment, ensuring that business is doing well. Even if you make a law for 10% or 20% or more payment and the business is not profitable, there will be no money to give. We need an enabling environment beneficial to the host communities, oil companies and the government and everybody will be happy. Reasonability of men to understand that a win win situation and live and let live is needed is key in the operation of the Act.”

Governor Uzodimma reiterated that it is not only allocation of money that is important, but sincere and strategic deployment of resources as allocated is what is more important.

He also emphasized ability to avoid descrimination and obey regulatory framework.

“The companies operating here are the same as those operating elsewhere. We need a strong regulatory environment and instrument, and since 1969, it has taken a man like Buhari to ammend the existing Petroleum Act. With the new law in place the companies will be forced to follow the rules and do the right thing.”

For his State, Imo, Governor Uzodimma said the advantage is threefold and more – it will standardize oil production, regulatory instrument will be at work and the feeling of grievance of the host communities will be addressed.

Hear him: ” Even if you didn’t get 10% or more now as recommended, with further amendments you will get them, but for now there are many advantages that have come with the Petroleum Act.

“All the hazards that follow the production of oil, mostly environmental hazards are as a result of the absence of regulatory environment.

“These laws when put in place will not only regulate the environment but will also create room for value addition, both in the oil-bearing communities, the oil-producing companies and government loyalties. So, it is going to be a value chain. The benefits are going to be so enormous.”

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