The New Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly has proposed that oil companies operating in some communities must develop community development plan to ensure their economic growth.

The new bill obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) revealed that the companies are expected to engage with the communities to understand their specific needs.

“The settlor (oil companies) shall develop a host community development plan and shall submit it to the regulatory body “The Authority”. It said.

It added that the settlor after the grant of any licence or lease issued in pursuant to the act, must conduct a needs assessment in accordance with the act.

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It noted that each host community needs assessment must form a social, environmental and economic perspective of the affected host community.

“It has to ascertain the effect that the proposed petroleum operations might have on the host community and provide strategy for addressing needs and effects identified,” it said.

The new bill further noted that each host community needs assessment must show that the settlor had engaged with affected host community to understand the issues and needs of such host community.

” It has to indicate that host community was consulted with and considered the reasonable concerns of women, youths and community leaders.

“Engage with each affected host community in developing a strategy to address the needs and effects identified in the applicable host community needs assessment”, it added.

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On content of host community plan, it said that it shall specify the community development initiatives required to respond to the findings and strategy identified in host community needs assessment.

According to the new PIB, the plan shall determine and specify projects to implement and provide a detailed time line for the project.

“It will determine and prepare the budget of the host community development plan and set out the reasons and objectives of each project as supported by the host community needs assessment, ” it said.

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It further said that the plan must conform with the Nigerian content requirements provided in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Act and provide for ongoing review and reporting to the host community. (NAN)

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