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Kupolokun Urges Banks To Assist Indigenous Oil Companies

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Former Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mr Funsho Kupolokun,  last Saturday urged Nigerian banks to assist indigenous oil and gas companies to strive.

Kupolokun made the appeal in Lagos during the official unveiling of the new logo of Bell Oil and Gas Ltd and 10th year anniversary of the company.

The former NNPC GMD, however, lauded government initiative on the Nigerian Local Content bill, adding that this was the only way to assist and develop indigenous companies.

He said that banks should encourage indigenous oil companies through grant of loan facilities.

“The essence why government initiated the local content bill is to promote indigenous companies in the country.

“The success of Bell Oil and Gas today is the support of the local content which was developed and supported by government,’’ he said.

Kupolokun, therefore, advised banks to introduce a special funding package to support the participation of indigenous companies in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy.

He said that such support would assist Nigerian entrepreneurs in the technology-driven, capital-intensive oil and gas industry for increased competitiveness.

“Local content in the oil and gas sector is at its loudest and seeks to provide financial support to local oil service providers to enable them fulfil their contractual obligations in the industry.

“The Nigerian Content Act insists on exclusive consideration for Nigerian indigenous service companies, which have demonstrated ownership of equipment, personnel and capacity to execute work on land and swamp areas in the oil industry.’’

Kupolokun added that Nigeria had earned over 800 billion dollars in oil in the last 50 years but had nothing to show for it.

Managing Director, Bell Oil and Gas Mr Kayode Thomas, in his welcome address, lauded the support of government towards assisting indigenous companies in the oil and gas sector.

Thomas said that the 10th year anniversary celebrations and unveiling of the company’s new logo, was to channel it to greater height, adding that the company had spread across nine continents of the world.

He, however, urged Nigerian banks to support local companies to boost indigenous participation in offshore and onshore operations in the oil and gas industry.

Thomas pointed out that the bank’s efforts would complement the Nigerian Content Development Act, which aimed to stimulate the development of indigenous capabilities and increase the contribution of the oil and gas sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Thomas said that the company specialised in supplying professional services to the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.

‘We are dedicated to indigenous content development, and providing the Nigerian oil and gas industry with the essential local participation and increased local content that it lacks.

“Bell Oil and Gas is a provider of Surface Protection services; Line Pipes & OCTG; Flow Control and Well Testing Services, among others.’’

Thomas said that the company believed that Corporate Social Responsibility was integral to the long term sustainability of the organisation.

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More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining

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As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’ 
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth. 
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.

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Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project   -Akawor

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The  PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them. 
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.

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PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations

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Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations. 
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.

Stories by Corlins Walter

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