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PIB: S/South governors demand increase in Host Community Trust Fund to 10%

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SIX governors of the South-South region have demanded an upward review of the Host Community Trust Fund in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) from 2.5 to 10 percent.

Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State governor, who also doubles as the chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum, said this at the end of the forum’s meeting in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

He said that  2.5 percent allocated to host communities in the PIB currently before the National Assembly was inadequate.

He noted that the 10 percent increase was in the interest of host communities and the nation.

“We are of the view that while we welcome the Host Community Trust Fund, we do believe that 2.5 percent that is appropriated in that bill for the purpose of host community fund is inadequate,” he said.

“We have discussed with our people and collectively as leaders of the people in our various states and as leaders standing in on behalf of our people, we urge the National Assembly to increase the provision in the host community fund from 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent.

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“This is in the best interest of our communities and the nation,’’ Okowa said.

“A peaceful environment in the various oil communities would enable us to have greater and seamless production, without any form of disruption, going into the future.

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“The governors have also urged President Muhammadu Buhari that in the absence of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), funds for the commission, beyond the payment of salaries, should be put in an escrow account until he constitutes the board,’’ Okowa said.

“We do know that there is a forensic audit taking place and for that reason, the board has not been constituted.”

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The forum resolved that monies being sent to the NDDC should be put in an escrow account until a board was constituted and then proper processes followed in the expenditure of the money.

It added that the NDDC was being run in such a manner that was not beneficial to the people, saying that there was no stakeholder input in the running of the affairs of the commission.

Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

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