Southern Senators, yesterday, met behind closed doors to strategise and come up with unified positions on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and key areas of the Constitution Review Public Hearings undertaken by Senators in the six geo-political zones of the country.
Tuesday's meeting, LEADERSHIP reported, was not unconnected with recent reports of northern opposition to certain provisions of the PIB. The contentious PIB had faced opposition from Northerners (including Senators) who insisted that the draft legislation sought to empower only the oil-producing states.
The meeting of Southern Senators was led by Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang (Akwa-Ibom /PDP).
The North's opposition to the PIB is hinged on a section which grants a 10 per cent equity advantage to oil-bearing communities from the net profit of oil companies operating in the areas - a position LEADERSHIP learnt the Northern Senators were scheming to counter.
Part G, Sections 116-118 in the PIB provide for the establishment of a special fund to be known as the 'Petroleum Host Communities Fund (in this Act referred to as the PHC Fund)' which "shall be utilised for the development of the economic and social infrastructure of the communities within the petroleum producing area."
Another grey area in the PIB is the granting of seeming unlimited powers to the Minister of Petroleum Resources.