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Diri to IOC: Refusal to relocate headquarters to Niger Delta is injustice



Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has condemned the new policy which would allow the International Oil Companies (IOCs) extract oil in Bayelsa while their workers pay income tax to states where the headquarters are located.

The Governor made the disclosure at the second edition of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) research and development fair.

According to the Nigeria tax directive, Workers are expected to pay their income tax to the state in which they are residing.

Diri, who was represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, lamented that it was unfair for the oil companies to cite insecurity as the motive for not relocating their headquarters to Bayelsa.

He said Bayelsa State is more peaceful than many states in the country.

In March 2017, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo directed the IOCs operating in the Niger-Delta region to relocate their headquarters to their states of operation over tension in host communities.

But Diri said the refusal of the multinational oil companies to relocate to Bayelsa is unfair.

He argued that the IOCs had no reason not to relocate to Bayelsa, considering the prevailing enabling environment in terms of security and improved means of transportation, especially the commencement of flight operations at the Bayelsa international airport.

“Bayelsa state government still feels short-changed, in terms of what we are getting from the oil and gas industry, despite the efforts we are making to ensure peace and tranquillity in the industry,” he said.

“We believe the relocation of the IOCs to Bayelsa State should not be further delayed.

“This is a pronouncement by the Vice President of our country, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, some three or four years ago. So, we believe the time for its manifestation has become very necessary.

“We strongly feel it is unfair for the IOCs to carry out their operations in Bayelsa, yet the PAYE income tax is collected in Lagos. That is a case of somebody eating the beans and asking another person to have diarrhoea.”

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