•••As companies show interest in 21 storey smart complex
The Akwa Ibom State Government has moved to tighten the noose on defaulting oil companies operating in the state and their service companies too. This is to ensure that such companies benefitting from its oil and gas resource meet up their obligations to host communities and the state in general.
This new position was made known yesterday, Friday, May 22, 2020 by the Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Rt. Hon. Barr. Ekong Sampson. Sampson spoke during the inauguration of the Petroleum Resources Coordination and Implementation Committee.
Observing that Akwa Ibom is currently the highest crude producer in the country, he regretted that the state comparatively has benefitted the least in the Niger Delta region from oil and gas exploration.
This situation according to him, compelled Governor Udom Emmanuel from the inception of his administration to make efforts towards changing the narrative by providing a conducive working environment for industry players to operate in the state.
‘Consistent with the administration’s development thrust, the Ministry of Environment and Petroleum Resources developed a standardized Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) template that will enable the state to benefit optimally in terms of employment, contracts, local contents, taxes and levies from oil and gas operations’.
This he said is the reason for the constitution of the Committee whose task is to coordinate and monitor the activities of oil and gas players in the state to optimize benefits for the state government and her people.
He disclosed that already, some companies have indicated sufficient interest in securing their office complex at the recently completed 21 Storey Smart Complex.
Government, he declared, will not hesitate to report any recalcitrant and erring company to the embassy of its home country and financial institutions in order to ensure that the rights of the people are respected and protected.
He described the oil industry as a ‘complex mix’ but expressed his ministry’s willingness to explore opportunities for meaningful engagements. ‘Government as usual will create a conducive operational environment but companies must respect the rights of the host communities and Akwa Ibom people in general’.
Barr. Sampson acknowledged the immense support of the governor, Udom Emmanuel to his ministry which has assisted greatly in reaching its goals and meeting its targets. He also noted the meaningful collaborations his ministry has enjoyed from the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Petroleum Matters.
‘The Committee will help the state boost her revenue base through internally generated revenue from the oil and gas sector.
‘It will also ensure that oil and gas companies operating in the state comply with the extant laws to provide employment for our people, execute their corporate social responsibilities and comply with the local content act,’ he opined.
In his remark, the SSA Petroleum Matters, Victor Etefia said the committee will be checking the excesses of IOCs and related companies that are enjoying the enormous natural resource of the state without commensurate contributions to the IGR of its host.
He thanked the commissioner for his ‘foresight’ and expressed optimism that the committee will deliver on its mandate.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary and secretary of the committee, Nsudoh Nsudoh said the ‘essence of the committee is clear and the task has commenced’. He urged members to do their best as result is more important than the inauguration.
The Director Department of Petroleum Resources, Engr. Emmanuel Inyang noted that getting revenue from IOCs is always a difficult task but however maintained that the committee will remain focused on its terms of reference and deliver on the set goals.
Among the terms of reference are: Coordination of the activities of the various teams and organs involved in the petroleum sector; Develop policies that will enhance the smooth management of petroleum activities in the state; Ensure compliance with revenue generation templates from the petroleum sub-sector in accordance with extant laws and guidelines. Members of the committee are: Rt. Hon. Barr. Ekong Sampson – chairman; Sir Victor Etefia – member; Engr. Emmanuel Inyang – member; Mr. Aniekpon Ekpo – member; Barr Clement Imoh – member; Mr. Sunny Udom – member; Pastor Williams Umanah – member; Uyoata Abraham – member; Mr. Nsudoh Nsudoh – secretary.