From All Africa, the Nigerian government is proposing giving more money from the sale of oil back to the communities that it comes from. Reporter Justus Nduwugwe says the government hopes this will ease the violence in the region.
In order to stem the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government is planning to spend about $376.8 million or about 10 per cent of its total income from oil to develop oil communities in the crisis-prone zone in the next budget year.
According to a report in the Financial Times yesterday, the government is mulling a plan to transfer 10 percent of all oil and gas ventures to those living in the Niger Delta, which has been the site of numerous attacks by militant groups.
If the plan scales through, "the communities would receive cash benefits, delivered through a trust-style mechanism, which they could use individually or pool for social projects... Officials believe the community stakes could be worth more than $376.8 million in the first year".
The London-based newspaper quoted the President's Special Adviser on Oil, Mr. Emmanuel Egbogah, saying that President Umaru Yar'Adua has backed the idea.
Egbogah said the president intends to add the proposal to reforms that the government hopes to enact by the end of the year, which would also impose tougher terms on oil companies who are currently embroiled in a tortuous debate in parliament.
He further said the 10 percent stakes would pay dividends on revenues after taxes and costs to communities, bypassing powerful governors of the eight oil-producing states who were instead calling for an increase in the extra share of petroleum revenues they already receive.