The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinnma has asked the National Assembly to come up with a law that will compel International Oil companies (IOCs) in the country to refine at least 25% of their crude oil in the country.
Uzodinnma stated this when he received in audience National Assembly Joint Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill, led by Senator Albert Bassey, Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) in his office at the Douglas House in Owerri on Tuesday.
He said if the oil companies refined 25% of their crude locally; it would be sufficient for not only the country’s daily fuel consumption but also for export purposes.
Uzodinnma frowned at the double standard which has over the years allowed (IOCs) to operate only at the upstream level because of the profit margin while neglecting the downstream sector should be discouraged.
He said it was time Nigeria engaged the oil companies with a view to properly understudy their mode of operations and why it seems convenient for them not to play by the rules but comply easily elsewhere.
” It is only in Nigeria that you hear of all sorts of dichotomy and double standard. It is now we that are trying to make a law to compel oil companies to do the right thing”.
Uzodinnma further advised the National Assembly as it embarks on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to included in the document the minimum Corporate Social Responsibilities expected periodically by Oil companies in their
host communities; pointing out that it will make life better for the people.
“I think the oil companies must be more patriotic and open and treat our people as human being”.
This was as the Governor told traditional rulers in host communities to resist the divide and rule tactic of oil companies and stop quarreling among themselves.
“Stop quarreling amongst yourselves because you are being set up by the oil company. Enough is enough”, he said.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Senator, Albert Bassey is optimistic that the PIB has a better prospect of being passed now; stressing that for the first time, the National Assembly and the executive are on the same page on it.
According to the lawmaker, the 9th National Assembly will ensure that the the interest of all stakeholders especially those of the host communities are adequately covered in the proposed PIB.
He said the mission to Imo State is in fulfilment of the promise during the last public hearing at the National Assembly to reach out and consult widely with the host communities for an all inclusive Act that can be competitive.
The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has a long checkered history in the National Assembly; which has made it difficult for proposed Petroleum law to be passed and see the light of the day in almost 20 years.
The newest version of the PIB has five chapters with the interest of host communities captured in the third that guarantee them 2.5% equity share of the total operating cost of the oil companies and also gives them a responsibility to protect the oil asset.