CSO Urges House Committee to Review Provisions of HCDT

CSOs have secured commitments from the House Committees on Environment and Host Communities to review grey provisions of the host community development trusts (HCDT), and to ensure accountability, transparency and fairness in the oil industry divestment processes

In a significant victory for civil society, the Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) has secured key commitments from lawmakers to address long standing issues in the oil and gas industry’s divestment processes and the implementation of HCDTs.

The commitments were made during a two-day retreat and training session organised by SDN for members of the House Committees on Environment and Host Communities, held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Capital. 

According to a communiqué issued after the event, the House Committees agreed to take several actions to improve transparency, accountability and fairness in the sector:

The communique reads, “a motion will be moved to halt ongoing divestments pending an investigation into recent deals to ensure alignment with best practices. The committees will propose amending the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to include provisions supporting transparent divestment, with technical support from SDN. The Committees will recommend the integration of SDN’s proposed “National Principles for Responsible Oil Industry Divestment” into the regulatory framework.

“The Host Communities Committee will review and amend the HCDT provisions to penalise companies that delay trust establishment. The Committee will define parameters for fair allocation of the 3% derivative across HCDT communities.”

In her opening remarks, the Country Director of SDN, Florence Ibokabasi Kayemba, highlighted the importance of the retreat, noting that divestment of onshore oil and gas facilities and the establishment of HCDTs are among the recent developments in the industry that require urgent attention.

“Divestment of onshore oil and gas facilities has been ongoing for the past few years, and the recent announcement by Shell of their proposed sale of SPDC came as a big surprise because of the lingering and unresolved environment and corporate social responsibility issues in the Niger Delta,” Kayemba said.

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