DESOPADEC boss blames youths for disinvestment, applauds PIB
The Executive Director, Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Philip Gbasin, has blamed insecurity arising from cultism, kidnaping, extortion and harassment by Niger Delta youths as the major reasons for the disinvestment by multinational oil corporations from the region.
Speaking at the weekend in Warri, Gbasin lamented that most of the oil companies among others, have relocated from the region because of the unwholesome attitudes of the people of the area.
He noted that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) will not automatically create the needed attractions for investors nor translate into the development of the region unless the people embraced positive transformation.
He said the government of the region must deal with most of these vices, particularly in the area of touting, where a landlord has to pay certain fees to touts for building or renovating his own house in the area.
He charged the leadership and those in authority to wake up to the clarion call by deploying a means to check the excesses of the youths, and to particularly deploy resources to develop the oil bearing communities and the Niger Delta Region.
Gbasin said: “I don’t believe that the passage of the PIB alone will resolve all the issues of developing the Niger Delta region. The major critical issue we should
look at is the attitude of the people; our people’s attitude is very unfriendly to industrial growth.
“So, I think we need a reorientation, a serious work on the youths because most of the industries that left the region are relocating to other parts of the country with a friendlier environment.”
He, however, lauded the National Assembly for the synergy that has enabled the Senate to pass the PIGB, adding that the bill would introduced a new order in the Joint Venture between the Federal Government and oil companies operating in Nigeria.
“The PIGB bill is a new governance model; this bill has been able to address those grey areas that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) are initially not comfortable with.
“Initially, the idea behind the PIB was for NNPC and the IOCs to have a mega company, a joint venture company operated by Federal Government and the IOCs but the oil companies said it will not be workable because FG has higher per cent in the agreement.
“This also means that the FG will have a controlling influence over that mega company and of cause those of us in the oil company knows that government has no capacity to run the oil company effectively and efficiently, they will run it down.
“This is so because there no single government operated business that was making reasonably profit and that will have translated to the collapse of the oil industries.’’
“So, with this PIGB, that control clause has been removed, the difference now is that the oil companies will be free to run their own companies while a new structure like NNPC will be established by government to manage the joint venture,” Gbasin said.
He said though the PIGB was critical, it will not automatically translate into massive investment in the oil sector because the key bill in the PIB, is the “Host Community Bill” which has not been passed by the National Assembly.
“We recall that the initial PIB was a bulky document which is now broken into different parts for easy passage, the PIGB being the first part has been passed remaining other parts which include the ‘Host community Bill,” he said.
He urged the Senate to critically consider the host community bill and ensure that the communities were well represented, adding that it was the Host Community Bill that will guarantee a social license for investors to come and invest.
He said that the Host Community Bill would make the host communities legal partners and stakeholder in the business of oil producing, adding that as partners, the issues of pipeline vandalism, kidnapping among other crimes would be reduced to the minimum.
Gbasin said that the bill that will guarantee a social license which the oil companies will be comfortable with is the host community bill, no matter the fine structure of the new governance model of the PIGB.