Corporate relations responsibility is a core value to any successful business venture and to Total Exploration and Production Nigeria (TEPN) Limited, it is not just a responsibility but a commitment. This commitment has propelled the company’s core value in corporate social responsibility which basically include respect for the environment and the enhancement of social and economic well being of communities hosting its facilities. The company has made concerted efforts in putting in place structures and programmes for the improvement of the well being of its host communities.
Little wonder Total has been adjudged the best in the oil and gas industry in terms of its corporate social responsibility delivery to host communities which is hinged on the concept of sustainable development.
The concept stresses that when indigenous communities run majority of their programmes through institutions and enterprise set up by themselves and for themselves with Total as partners, high sustainability is maintained.
This, no doubt, has greatly paid off for the company as amidst the restiveness that other oil companies face, for Total upsstreams companies in the country, the relationships with all the communities that host its facilities have been robust and cardinal. They have operated in relative peace with all their neighbours and stakeholders. The acceptance by host communities and the perception of the Company as a role model in Corporate Social responsibility delivery by the larger society have placed the company in a good stead in the oil and gas industry. Only recently, the company’s sustainable development practice was stretched to those at the other end of society as in mates of charity homes in Port Harcourt were showered with gifts worth millions of Naira.
Among the homes visited were Home for the Elderly, Harbour Road, Motherless Babies Home Borokiri, Global Foundation for Orphaned Chilren, Ikwerre Road by Rumuokwuta and David Bassey Ikpama Home Eagle Island.
Items donated to these homes include food stuff, baby cots/Matrrases, branded wooden beds, baby changing station, provisions among others.
Presenting the items, the company’s Public Relation Manager, Port Harcourt district, Mr. Ikwazom Norbert said, “it is the tradition of Total to share the concerns of its host communities and especially during festive periods, we let every facet of society have a feel of Total’s presence”.
Responding to the gesture, Cliff Jarrell, the father of the family of almost 40 orphaned children (Global foundation for Orphaned Children) said “it is a huge help, you have taken a huge burden from me. I thank Total for being agent of mercy. An agent of change; an angel to the home. You will surely be rewarded”.
In the same vein, Mrs Barile Austine Nwakoh, Matron of the Port Harcourt Children’s Home said Nigeria would have being a much better place if we have more of the likes of Total, urging others to emulate the company.
Indeed, Nigeria, specifically the Niger Delta would have been a better place if we had many more companies like Total in existence companies that would put the people at the centre of policy formulation and implementation in the delivery of social programmes in their domains.
The practice, rather, industry-wide has been the usual appeasement of community leaders through payments and assistance which ended up not meeting the real needs of the people.
And sometimes, the appeasement ends up in the pockets of some priviledged few.
At other times when these companies go beyond payments and assiatnace to the provision of basic infrastructure which did not, emanate from community consultation, it could not be sustained as the stakeholders or communities were disconnected from such programmes.
No wonder most projects carried out by companies that took this approach end up either being abandoned or decadent due to lack of maintenance. The people become discontented and naturally results to resentment and aggression.
Total had a paradigm shift in its corporate social responsibility delivery to host communities since 2007 which has set it apart in the oil and gas industry. Total’s approach has not only been adjudged the industry bench mark but has made the company to have commensurate value for projects and programmes initiated; and the host communities derive full satisfaction.
Hear what Mr. Edem Etim Ebong, Chairman, Ibeno Youth Development Council said in an interview:
“Total has been one of the best oil and gas company Ibeno has associated with. It is the first oil company so far that will sit down with the community and discuss their developmental needs so as to have a framework of agreement on what is expected from each party … the relationship has taken off well and it is cordial”.
In demonstration of the company’s commitment to the educational development of its host communities, the company in collaboration with the consultancy division of Benviatto Schools Limited organised the 2011 Career Guidance and Counselling Programme for secondary Schools in its, OML 58 areas. The 2011 edition was the third in the series which had about 163 students drawn from eleven secondary schools in OML 58, NYSC members, teachers and community representatives’.
The company’s General Manager, Sustainable Development and Public Affairs, Mr. Vincent Nnadi represented by Anthony, Umesi, head, Educational Development said the programme is one of the compnay’s valued programme aimed at exposing students to various career.
By the programme students from the communities are exposed early in their lives to the variety of courses and professions available. They are placed in a vantage position to choose courses that they have aptitude in as it will be easier to excel and add more value to society in such chosen fields.
Also a limelight was thrown on the importance the company’s attaches to the health of indigenes of its host communities during the maiden edition of the training workshop for Traditional Birth Attendants in Akabuka. It was organised in collaboration with Partners on Health Resources and over 62 participants from OML 58 communities. The aim is to build the capacity of participants on effective maternity services and health care delivery.
Total is one company that is in the forefront in the implementation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry local Content Development (NOGIC) Act. An Act that is geared towards the establishment of facilities in the country and ensuring they are patronised in a bid to bring Nigerians jobs back home for instance the Akpo Oil and Gas Deeproater Development Project (OML130) which delivered its first oil in 2009 had 7.85 million man-hours in local employment, 25,900 tonnes of steel in local fabrication and an overall Nigeria content value of 80 per cent.
The first Nigeria’s privately owned vessel, MV OSAYAME came into being through the support of Total.
One can therefore make bold to say that Total is one company that is committed to extending socio-economic benefits to all the areas where it operates.
Borrowing the words of Sir Winston Leonard Spencer – Churchill, “Courage is what it takes to stand up to speak and courage is what it takes to sit down and listen” Relationship can be marred or sustained through the courage to give and receive. And in every relationship there is time to give and a time to receive; a time to understand and to be understood. Therefore at every point, both ends have something to do which is usually a onerous task that takes courage to accomplish.
Total has performed its part of the pact creditably by paying the price to keep the relationship with host communities thereby getting a great value for both parties involved.
Price going to prove Warren Edward Buffet’s words that, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”.
DPR Shuts 11 Gas Plants, Petrol Stations In Abuja
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has sealed 11 illegal gas plants as well as seven filling stations over various sharp practices in Abuja, Nigeria’s seat of government.
The raided plants selling mainly Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as cooking gas and the filling stations visited were located in Karimo, Gwagwa, Games Village, Kuje and Gwagwalada in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The petroleum industry regulator stated that the LPG plant owners were operating illegally while the affected petrol stations were carrying out their businesses without valid licences.
Some of the illegal gas plants affected were: Macco Synergy, Mr T&M cooking gas, Trinity cooking gas, Meter Smile Gas ltd, Sunny Sun cooking gas, among others.
In her remarks, during the operation, the DPR Abuja Zonal Operations Controller, Mrs Roselyn Wilkie, said that previous efforts to get the illegal operators to regularise their businesses failed to yield the needed results.
She said: “During today’s exercise, 11 illegal LPG plants were raided in collaboration with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). Some personnel of these illegal facilities were arrested and they have been handed over to security operatives for prosecution.
She said, “All our efforts to get the attention of the illegal facility operators with the view to regularising their businesses failed to yield the desired result.”
DPR cannot sit back and watch the danger the existence of these illegal facilities portends to the lives and properties of citizens.
“This necessitated our going out as the situation arose to enforce provisions of the relevant laws and regulations for construction and operation of petroleum products facilities in the downstream sector.”
She added that the DPR as an opportunity house and business enabler had been engaging illegal petroleum product facility owners to get the best advice on how to regularise their businesses and operate legally in a safe environment.
Wilkie further called on all illegal facilities’ operators to come forward and regularise their operation by obtaining the necessary licence to operate from the organisation.
According to her, this would ensure the protection of investors’ assets and the safety of lives and properties within the sector.
During the raid, seven filling stations were visited while 18 petrol pumps were sealed for sharp practices, including for suspected cases of diversion of six trucks containing products.
IPMAN Suspends Strike, Directs Members To Resume Operation
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has directed its members in Enugu State depot to resume supplies of petroleum products.
The National President of IPMAN, Alhaji Sanusi Fari disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists last Saturday.
According to the statement, the national leadership of IPMAN had last Thursday directed the withdrawal of their services at the Enugu loading depot of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with effect from Friday.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of IPMAN attributed the directive to an alleged attack on their secretariat in NNPC, Enugu depot on Thursday by men of the Nigeria Police Force.
The foregoing halted the supply of petroleum products to Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra, a situation which caused a significant hike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the affected states.
Meanwhile, Fari said that the NEC of IPMAN had reviewed the situation and directed their members to resume their services and operations.
“As a result of the intervention of higher authorities in the unwarranted and unprovoked invasion of our secretariat at Enugu depot, the NEC of IPMAN has called off our strike actions.
“Normal services and operations will immediately resume in the affected states of Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra to allow for fruitful discussions,” he said
Why PIA Should Be Reviewed Every Five Years – ICSAN
The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) has recommended that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) should be subject to review at least every five years.
Its Registrar, Taiwo Olusesi, made the recommendation in the Institute’s position paper on the PIA on Saturday in Lagos.
The Institute said that such periodic review would help to consolidate on the gains of the epoch-making legislation. “This is to accommodate the genuine yearnings of the stakeholders as well as other requisite exigencies that might come to light during usage of the law,” she said.
The Tide source reports that the PIA provides for the establishment of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) within six months after the enactment of the Act. She enjoined government to build a proper governance structure around the NNPCL.
Olusesi urged that the appointment of the directors to its board must be based purely on merit with emphasis on issues of relevance, board requirements, and diversity in the board composition.
She added that there must be strict adherence to the notions of disclosure and transparency while ethical observances must be ingrained in the template of the company’s operations. “There must be an adequate framework of risk management and control system which should incorporate well-articulated whistleblowing policy.
“Furthermore, proper checks and balances must be built into the system to ensure that no individual, unit, or department can undermine or dis-apply the control system at his or her whims and caprices.
“We request that NNPCL should always have board to oversee and guide the management to achieve the expected objectives.
“There should be an annual board appraisal with the corporate governance evaluation of NNPCL, which should be published,” she said.
She said that without putting in place all these governance mechanisms, the envisaged metamorphosis of the moribund NNPC into a more efficient and dynamic NNPCL would not be realised.
According to her, the exercise will simply be a mere change of name without a change of anything else, with all its concomitant business-as-usual tendencies.
The corporate governance professional added that as a public interest entity, the NNPCL must have a qualified and experienced company secretary to oversee its secretariat.
She said this would enable the secretariat also play its role as the compliance officer responsible for the entrenchment of good corporate governance in the company.
“The qualification and experience must not be less than that of a company secretary of a public interest entity and the recruitment process must be competitive.
“The status of this management staff, duties, functional and administrative roles, responsibilities, reporting lines and mode of determination must be clearly stated in writing by the Board,” she said.
Olusesi also called for the proper and adequate monitoring of activities in the downstream sector to discourage all manner of sharp practices including hoarding of products to create artificial scarcity for price increment.
“The Federal Government should be proactive in devising ways and measures to counter the unscrupulous elements who may attempt to sabotage the interplay of demand and supply in a deregulated market,” she said.
She urged government, through the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, parastatals and regulators to embark on massive stakeholders’ enlightenment campaign to dispel the confusion by illuminating the provisions of the Act and revealing their implications.
“Much of the controversies trailing the PIA 2021 emanate from many of its grey areas and provisions which are capable of many interpretations.
“This lack of preciseness and clarity of many provisions in the Act is breeding mistrust and apprehensions among many stakeholders.
“For example, the provisions on the Thirty per cent Frontiers Exploration Fund require elucidation.
“The Institute, in consonance with its tradition of guiding on issues of Corporate Governance and Public Administration, hereby undertakes to convene a stakeholders’ webinar for the sake of mass enlightenment on this new PIA 2021,” she said.
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