NUPRC Inaugurates Host Community Development Trust Board of Trustees Forum to Ensure Transparent Implementation

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has launched the Host Community Development and Administration Trust Board of Trustees (BOT) Forum at its Abuja headquarters. The event, which took place on Thursday, was attended by top management staff, host community leaders, settlors, and stakeholders.

Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, the commission’s chief executive, inaugurated the forum, highlighting its importance as a comprehensive platform to address host communities’ issues and facilitate the smooth administration of the host community provisions outlined in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021. This initiative is seen as an additional measure to enhance the successes achieved in implementing host community provisions in the Act.

In compliance with Sections 232 and 235 of the PIA, NUPRC has incorporated 103 Host Community Development Trusts (HCDTs). The move underscores the commission’s commitment to social inclusion, believing that it is vital for maintaining peace and harmony in the oil industry. The commission aims to register 20 to 25 million National Identity Numbers (NINs) by the end of 2024, aligning with the World Bank’s projections under the Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) project.

Engr. Komolafe emphasized the importance of a peaceful operating environment in enhancing production in host communities. The commission’s focus on developing host community regulations and the establishment of the HDCT Board of Trustees reflects its dedication to fostering transparency and uniform application of the developmental objectives provided in the PIA, 2021.

To ensure efficiency and transparency in the scheme’s implementation, the commission collaborated with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to develop a real-time digital portal/reporting system called HOSTCOMPLY. The portal will facilitate compliance with the Host Communities Development provisions of the Act, covering application processes, approvals, report submissions, and project monitoring.

Engr. Komolafe highlighted that the commission opted for a transparent implementation using a digital approach, learning from past attempts to implement similar schemes in the country. The commission intends to provide capacity building for BOT members to ensure a seamless implementation and achievement of the scheme’s objectives.

The BOT Forum, as explained by Captain John Roland Tonlagha, the executive commissioner for Health, Safety, Environment, and Community (HSEC), serves as a platform for engagement between BOT, settlors, and host communities. It aims to enhance accountability and transparency through informed discussions, exchange of ideas, and collective decision-making.

Ejiro Ofondu, the acting director of Host Communities, provided a status report on the implementation of the HCDT, indicating progress in receiving applications for incorporation. By February 22, 2024, 103 trusts have been fully incorporated, 52 have been funded, and 43 applications are still in the pipeline, undergoing review or facing litigation.

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