The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has defended the signing into law of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the aim is to attract investors to the sector.
The minister said this on Tuesday in Abuja while responding to questions on the three per cent allocation to host communities in the PIB.
“As a country, we have a direction that we are going to. So, right now, if you talk about three per cent in the Act, for us in the Niger Delta, I will ask, three per cent of something? Is that not better than 100 per cent of what you don’t know?” he asked.
“What we want to achieve is the philosophy behind this bill which is to attract investors to Nigeria, to produce as much as this crude on the ground as possible. That is what we want to achieve.
“We must measure everything against this philosophy, so, as a Niger Deltan, if activities are not going on, nothing happens because the investors look at the numbers and see if they are adding up for them to operate,’’ he said
Mr Sylva said the issues on frontier exploration fund was not peculiar to the North as people had said but it affected all areas that oil is being prospected.
“Every frontier territory is aspiring to be a host community and there are not in one area in the country, they are in Cross River, North East, South West and so on, so, when people locate frontier territory in one part of the country, it is not so.
“We must come together as a country, frontier and host community and for host communities; we must realise that in the end, it is about the philosophy which is to bring investment to the territory.
“We must come together as a country, frontier and host community and for host communities; we must realise that in the end, it is about the philosophy which is to bring investment to the territory,’’ he said.
On petrol price, he said that with the PIB signed into law, the sector had been fully deregulated.
“That is why, we will not jump to implement it, the implementation framework will take care of how we are going to alleviate the sufferings that this might bring.
“We will work together with labour to ensure that there is a framework that will allow us to implement deregulation,’’ he added.