From Osakhare Erese, Asaba
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has urged the Federal Government to intervene in the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly.
Governor Okowa made the call yesterday in Asaba at a stakeholders’ engagement meeting cum enlightenment campaign with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu.
“Where do we stand with the PIB?” Governor Okowa asked the Minister, adding, “it is something you have to put the President in the know because, if that bill is not passed next year, the National Assembly will have to start afresh, the whole process.”
While observing that the passage of the PIB will address most of the issues affecting the oil industry, the Governor commended Dr Kachikwu for directly engaging stakeholders in the oil industry, noting, “there is the need for constant interface between the oil companies and the communities, we need to consolidate on the peace we have now; there should be sincerity and openness in our dealings.”
He also, stated that oil companies have no reason not to have operational offices in their areas of operation and called on the Federal Government to prevail on the companies for them to relocate their headquarters or operational offices to their areas of operations.
“There is no reason why their operational offices should not be here (areas of operation), it is important, it will also, impact on our Internally Generated revenue and the psychological effect that you have to move to states outside your areas of operations is not fair, the Federal Government should have a time lag for the oil companies to move to their areas of operations,” he said.
While noting that the Federal Government has shown commitment to the opening of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko by releasing the sum of N1 billion, Governor Okowa also, disclosed that his administration has released the sum of N100 million to assist in the effective take off of the University, and called on the people in the riverine communities to be patient as actions are also on for work to commence at the Gas Revolution Industrial Project.
Dr Kachikwu had said the stakeholders meeting was important as a Memorandum of Understanding which will take care of issues discussed would be prepared and time line for its implementation set
He commended traditional rulers and their subjects for maintaining peace in the region. disclosing that 10 companies have applied to build modular refineries in Delta State while work at the Gas City project, Ogidigben would soon commence as efforts are on to get more investors in the various sections of the project.
“We are bringing back the financiers of the Gas City Project, we want to also, let you know that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources have not given out contract for pipeline protection, the Maritime University is on course and we believe that by August/September next year, academic activities will commence, the Federal Government has released N1 billion for the project, President Muhamadu Buhari is committed to ensuring that things are done right for Nigerians,” he said, assuring that efforts are also on to make the sea ports in the state viable.
Traditional rulers, representatives of different oil companies, community leaders among other stakeholders spoke about how to ensure peaceful work environment for the petroleum industry operators.