International Oil Companies, IOCs, operating in Nigeria, are indebted to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to the tune of US$ 4billion.
Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Goodswill Akpabio, stated this on Thursday at the State House during the 19th Session of the ministerial briefing series, organized by the Presidential Communication Team.
Akpabio said the debt accrued from unremitted funds from the IOCs to the NDDC.
The IOCs are expected to pay 3% of their annual budgets to the NDDC, but they have defaulted in this for some time, leading to the accumulation of over US$4billion.
Akpabio also spoke on the 3% allocation of the profit Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC to the host communities as provided in the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, saying that the most important issue is how the fund would be managed.
He expressed hope that the implementation of the PIA would address the issues and agitations in the Niger Delta region.
“The Petroleum Industry Act PIA when implemented is going to assuage the feelings of the people of the host communities because they never had half a per cent since oil was discovered in 1956 in Oloibiri.
“That is why I said that it is not the percentage that is the issue. Some communities could not even do the solar-powered toilets, some had no drinking water. Even water tankers supplying them water failed because oil exploration and exploitation had destroyed their water system.
“But now with the PIA, they would be able to do certain things for themselves without waiting on oil companies, the federal government or the state to do it for them.
“Today, majority of Niger Deltans are very happy that the government has decided to deal with the host communities directly.”
The 19th Ministerial Briefing dwelt mostly on the activities of the Nigerian government to address infrastructure, environmental degradation and issues of peace and stability in the Niger Delta.
According to Akpabio, the East-West Road, a 338-kilometre-dual-carriageway with 41 bridges, was initiated in 2006 by the Nigerian government to traverse the states in the Niger Delta Region, will be completed in 2022.
Akpabo said that there was a four-year lull in the construction of the road before the Buhari administration took over in 2015.
He said by the time he took over as minister in 2019 much of the work had been done.
“When I took over office as a minister with my colleague, August 21, 2019, the project had gone far—over 80%.
So, what was left was not so much and therefore it couldn’t have been a greenfield project, where we go for commercialization instead of providing social amenities; so there was the problem of going into a contract on how to recoup the money.
He said that the ministry cleared a debt of about N11billion owed to contractors who were working on the road.
Akpabio said that the Ministry of the Niger Delta was also working on 109 intra-state roads, jetty construction, skills acquisition centres, electrification, housing and environmental projects.