By Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, Hon. Uzoma Nkem Abonta (Abia PDP) has cautioned against the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) drafted by the Senate, for excluding host communities from benefitting from the 10 per cent development fund paid by oil firm in the country.
Abonta described the exclusion as dangerous, as it is capable of fuelling restiveness in the oil producing communities.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, Abonta said it was unfair for oil producing communities to be exempted from partaking in resources exploited from their lands, especially as they suffer the adverse effects of the exploration of the resources.
“While you are denying host communities any financial benefits from the natural resources found in their backyard, you are taking money realised from the sale of crude oil to prospect for oil in other parts of the country. That is ridiculous,” he said.
Abonta, commenting on the economy, urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to formulate policies that would ensure the promotion and liberalisation of exports, and focus on agriculture, particularly agro-processing.
“We are suffering because of the lack of basic standard of definitions and policies for decades. We need to encourage the states to fend for themselves through comparative advantage of the natural resources that they are endowed with,” he said.