Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility under the 2018 Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Development Trust Bill: Is Nigeria Rehashing Past Mistakes?

In: African Journal of Legal Studies

Abstract

The 2018 Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Development Trust Bill before the Nigerian National Assembly was proposed to foster sustainable development (SD) and embed corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the oil and gas corporate activities within host communities. From the backdrop of SD and CSR as regulatory concepts, this article scrutinizes the Bill for its viability to realize its objectives in its current form. It raises concerns about: (i) perceived negligence by the government to provide social services and public goods, seeming to outsource such responsibilities to the business community; (ii) the reduction of CSR to capital or community development projects; and (iii) the absence of useful delimitation criteria to determine host and impacted communities. The article argues that past mistakes are being rehashed and queries the capacity of the Bill to live up to stakeholders’ expectations. Using the normative contributions of global templates such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the article recommends policy and regulatory changes to the Bill’s governance structure towards embedding effective CSR and engendering SD in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

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