By Emmanuella Anokam
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has unveiled an Industry Digital Automated Portal (IDAP) for monitoring and reporting of the Host Community Development Trust (HCDT).
The commission said the platform was developed for transparent administration of the host communities as provided by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the portal was unveiled on Wednesday in Abuja at the NUPRC’s stakeholders’ engagement on operationalisation of the HCDT pursuant to the PIA 2021.
Speaking at the event, the Commission Chief Executive, Mr Gbenga Komolafe, said the IDAP which was developed in partnership with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) would meet specific requirements of the HCDT.
This, he said, would aid operations of relevant stakeholders including the settlors, board of trustees and fund managers, among others.
Komolafe said the platform would fulfil obligations to host communities and promote accountability and transparency in the HCDT programme management.
Komolafe was represented at the event by Dr Kelechi Ofoegbu, the Executive Commissioner, Economic Regulation and Strategic Planning, NUPRC.
“It will also enable quick feedbacks from the stakeholders and the public for the commission to carry out its regulatory oversight effectively.
He disclosed that the commission had approved 75 host community development trusts of which 41 had been fully incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission.
According to him, it has pre-qualified 19 fund managers and equally commenced the process of establishing a baseline of ongoing community development projects, in preparation for their migration into the HCDTs.
“The establishment of the HCDT will create a more equitable distribution of the industry’s benefits and reduce the social and economic disparities in the country.
“NUPRC shall continue to provide requisite support and guidance for the full implementation of the law,” he said.
Komolafe also urged stakeholders to continue to work together to ensure the successful implementation of the PIA.
He, however, tasked them to collaborate in creating a sustainable and equitable oil and gas industry that would benefit Nigerians.
Komolafe said the commission was prioritising efforts toward increasing oil and gas production and ensuring maximum federation revenue through the optimisation of oil and gas value chain.
“The efforts have been constrained by myriad of challenges ranging from insecurity, low investment, de-prioritisation of funding of hydrocarbon development arising from energy transition.
“Currently, Nigeria has the technical allowable capacity to produce about 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. However, arising from the highlighted challenges, our current production hovers around 1.5 million barrels of oil and condensate per day.
“To further stem the tide of sabotage and third-party interferences on oil and gas critical infrastructure, the PIA has in effect domesticated the protection of our oil and gas infrastructure to the host communities,” he said.
He said that one critical milestone under the PIA was the incorporation of the HCDT by the settlor provided for in Section 235 as well as appointment of Board of Trustees (BOT) by the settlor in consultation with the host communities.
“Settlors are the oil and gas companies operating within host communities,” he added.
Earlier, Captain John Tonlagha, the Executive Commissioner, Health, Safety, Environment and Communities, NUPRC, solicited support and collaborative contribution of all industry players toward implementation of provision of law regarding host communities.
Section 240 (2) of the PIA stipulates that each settlor, where applicable through the operator, shall make an annual contribution to the applicable host communities development trust fund.
The amount shall be equal to three per cent of its actual annual operating expenditure of the preceding financial year in the upstream petroleum operations affecting the host communities for which the HCDT was established. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma