Human resources re
main of primary importance to the development or growth of a nation. Development is enhanced through a continual improvement in the life of the citizenry together with rising economic index. Realistically, a country or state can look forward to a future of successful results and great satisfaction only if the signs and vision are excellent. And to actualize an excellent vision, there is need for innovation and understanding in order to best face future challenges.
This is why the Rivers State Governor, Chief (Barrister) Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, acknowledges that the prosperous future of the state depends on making it economically strong and self-reliant. To realize this, he said his administration shall develop and implement an economic blueprint that leverages on our strengths to make Rivers State the industrial hub of Nigeria in oil and gas, agriculture, maritime and tourism businesses. In addition, the state’s chief executive stated that in growing and managing our economy, we will focus on poverty alleviation or reduction through job creation and expanding business opportunities for our people.
“We intend to achieve this in part, by encouraging Rivers people to participate in both the upstream and down-stream sectors of the oil and gas industry and also through a strategic engagement drive, ensure that our people benefit from the local content policy of the oil, gas and maritime industries”, he emphasised.
He further disclosed that the present administration would ensure that the fruits of development get to every part of the state, including the rural areas by implementing an integrated action plan that takes the entire state into consideration.
There are dissenting opinions that incoming or new government-federal and state are very good at making bogus promises and exaggerating their intentions for the people, which sometimes generates controversies at the end of the day among critics. With the abundance of high valuable resources bestowed on Rivers State, it is hoped that the Governor Wike-led administration would utilize the available resources to speed up or fast-track the economic growth of the state. What we witnessed during the immediate past regime in the state was a seeming exploitation and extortion of Rivers natural and human resources as well as destructive ethnic rivalries that stalled industrialization and prosperity in the state. Rivers people have not had an equal opportunity to develop in the ways that suit them. Acute or abject poverty is staring on the faces of the people and they are yearning for the alleviation of the scourge.
At a presentation ceremony of refrigerators, power generators and other empowerment facilities to members organized by an NGO, the National Clergy forum (NCF) at Igwuruta recently, the Rivers State Government said that one of its cardinal objectives is to alleviate poverty among the people through different forms of empowerment scheme.
The government, which spoke through the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Hon. Prince Obi Wali K., at the occasion, said it would partner with and support organization with the objective to fight poverty among Rivers people and commended the NCF for the bold step to help people.
Also speaking at the occasion, the National President of the NCF, Bishop Hyginus Ndukaife, said that apart from distributing equipment, the organization helps members to access loans to establish or expand their business. “We do it to help the people at the grassroots as a way of poverty reduction and to check youth restiveness among youths”, he stated.
Rivers State Chairman of the NCF, Bishop-elect Emmanuel Onyebuchi explained that the organization was a non-denominational one with a broad objective and vision to collaborate with banks in Nigeria to provide financial and material assistance to its members. According to him, the NCF aims to provide means of eradicating poverty through active grassroots participation in a financial relationship between the organization and its members.
The National Clergy Forum is registered and inaugurated both at national and state levels with a clear set of objectives which include eradication of poverty among believers and non-believers that registered through grassroots approach and provision of financial and material assistance through collaboration with banks and government agencies.
Rivers State needs rapid development now more than ever before and emphasis should be placed on poverty eradication or reduction. The people need more food and money to feed, own their houses, establish their businesses and provide standard education for their children and many others, including access to good drinking water, electricity and healthcare services.
Globally, the issue of poverty reduction has become unavoidable considering the increasing population, which means that more and more resources are being consumed and not all are renewable. Rivers people are not happy about their conditions, they must develop to assert themselves, to compete with the wealthy ones, and to create structures and institutions that can withstand the present economic trend. In short, the high poverty level and poor economic situation calls for an aggressive economic system that can meet the multi-faceted environmental, economical and social challenges militating against sustainable development in the state.
There seems to be a lack of political will to address squarely the economic challenges confronting the state as it is common in the Niger Delta region, where unchecked oil drilling and exploitation have inflicted tremendous damage on the ecosystem, health and livelihoods of the people. It is the wish of Rivers people that the present administration would make significant investments in social and economic infrastructure across the state and particularly and urgently too, build the economic capacity of the various communities to give them a sense of belonging.
Infrastructural development at the grassroots is very important in driving and sustaining the states growth momentum. The state has over the years built the human capacity and expertise to package and support the government to put in place the right infrastructure deals that would deliver value to the majority of Rivers people and support economic growth.
It is believed that the Wike-led administration recognizes the significant efforts and foundations already laid in this direction to showcase the state’s infrastructure investment, so it now behoves it (government) to critically increase the required finance and industrial base to develop and implement the state’s unparalleled infrastructure investment opportunities to tackle poverty among the citizenry.
It is also pertinent that the government creates a more conducive environment for both foreign and local investors. This has been a major challenge facing the state due to insecurity and lack of steady electricity supply.
This government should create an enabling environment where manufacturers could operate at optimal level and turning out quality products. All the moribund government companies should be revived and repositioned with innovations that could appeal to different segments of the society, including the youth and women.
There is a great need for full inclusion of the youth in our new approach to development if we must move forward.
The truth is that most indigenes of Rivers State are finding it hard to cope with the daily rising economic hardship and inflation due to the fact that prices of commodities have gone through the roof and out of their reach coupled with low cash flow into their hands, thereby escalating the crime rate. Something should be done urgently. Over 85 per cent of Rivers people are living below the poverty line and they need a rescue from the present administration.
Partners Execute Shareholder Agreement For Brass Products Terminal
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), along with their partner, the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, NCDMB, and Zed Energy have executed a shareholders’ agreement for the establishment of a 50 million litre Petroleum Products Terminal in Brass, Bayelsa State.
The N10.5 billion Brass Petroleum Products Terminal project is expected to deliver an automated 50 million litre depot with two-way product jetty, automated loading bay, and 6 automated tanks for storage of 30 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS)and 20 million litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK).
While speaking at the signing ceremony, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his giant strides in the Niger Delta which is making a huge impact on the people of the area.
“I make bold to say today without any fear of contradiction that no President has impacted the people of the Niger Delta like President Muhammadu Buhari. Aside from what we are witnessing today, remember there is also the Brass Fertilizer & Petrochemical Company, the Oloibiri Oil and Gas Museum and the Oil & Gas Park in Ogbia, all under Mr. President,” the Minister stated.
Sylva added that the establishment of the Terminal further demonstrates Mr. President’s commitment to the enhancement of the livelihood of the Niger Delta people particularly, the riverine communities in Bayelsa State where people purchase products at exorbitant prices due to logistics challenges associated with transporting products to that area.
Speaking shortly after signing the agreement, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari said the Corporation was proud to be part of the project which aside ensuring products availability in all nooks and crannies of the Niger Delta, will also guarantee the nation’s energy security and generate employment.
“This Terminal will create 1,000 direct jobs during the construction phase, and over 5,000 indirect jobs during its operation. Considering the potential for employment when completed, this will definitely reduce youth restiveness in the Niger Delta area and will also address the problem of illegal refining in the area,” Kyari stated.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote stated that this milestone was as a result of strong interagency collaboration and public-private sector partnership.
“The NCDMB will continue to drive such partnerships across the industry to bring development in Nigeria,” he noted.
Earlier, the Coordinator of the Project and Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Mr. Bala Wunti stated that the project would enhance the economics of marine petroleum products distribution.
Senate Hails NNPC’s Drive Towards Profitability
The senate has commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for its efforts towards attaining profitability and stamping out corruption from its system.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Suleiman Abdu Kwari, gave the commendation at a hearing which was held at the national assembly complex, Abuja.
Kwari said it was heart-warming to learn that the NNPC was making great strides towards profitability and urged the corporation to sustain the gains recorded so far for the good of the country.
In his presentation at the hearing, Mele Kyari, the group managing director of NNPC, said the corporation was championing the fight against corruption in the oil and gas industry by placing measures to curb incidences of corruption across its various business portfolios and by enlisting as a partner company of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
He also said that the corporation has reported several incidences of infractions such as products diversion and crude oil theft to the police, EFCC and other investigating agencies of the federal government to stem corruption within the oil and gas industry.
In an effort to clampdown on fuel smuggling, the ministry of petroleum resources launched the operation white project in October 2019 to monitor and track the movement of petroleum products in the country.
Also in February 2021, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) launched the downstream remote monitoring system (DRMS) to track the movement of petroleum products from depots to retail outlets.
“We have created an anti-corruption desk in NNPC that engages the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies on a regular basis,” NNPC GMD said.
“The desk ensures that in all our operations, every staff complies to the code of conduct procedures with consequence management.
“We have established a regulatory compliant governance charter and transparency policy; this is a mark of our compliance to the anti-corruption strategy.
“For the first time in 43 years, NNPC, as a part of the evolving culture of transparency and accountability, published its Audited Financial Statements (AFS) for 2018 and 2019. We are going to publish that of 2020.
“The AFS is the only document that tells how a company does its transaction. We are happy that by the time the 2020 AFS will be published, Nigerians will see the dividends of our accountability.”
Chevron Spends $10bn On Nigerian Suppliers, Service Providers
Chairman/Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), Rick Kennedy, said the company has in the last 10 years spent an estimated annual average of $1 billion on Nigerian suppliers and service providers in line with its commitment to Nigerian Content Development.
Highlighting the opportunities and new approaches to the future of hydrocarbons at the ongoing 2021 NIPS in Abuja, Kennedy stressed the need for robust policies and regulations to address and remedy existing challenges in the oil and gas industry; digital technology/innovations; cost efficiency initiatives; sustained social investments as well as continued support for Nigerian Content Development.
Kennedy, who was represented by Monday Ovuede, director, NNPC/CNL Joint Venture, identified opportunities in lowering carbon emissions and harnessing Nigeria’s gas resources as key enablers in complementing the new approaches to future of hydrocarbons in the Nigerian oil and gas industry in the post COVID-19 era.
According to him, the global community has continued to scale up the collaboration towards lower carbon emissions, adding that Chevron supports global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and is actively investing in operations to improve environmental performance while also working with industry to develop new innovative technology and best practices to achieve these objectives.
He emphasised that CNL’s gas strategy is to end routine gas flaring and build a profitable gas business through a portfolio of projects, and stated that in Nigeria, CNL, with its joint venture (JV) partners, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has progressively reduced routine gas flaring by over 95% in the past 10 years and remained ahead in terms of maximising supply of on-spec gas into the Nigerian domestic market.
He also highlighted the NNPC/CNL’s Gas Sales and Aggregation Agreements with Egbin Power Plc, Dangote Fertilizer Limited, and Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited, while mentioning the positive impact of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) through which Nigeria supplies gas to countries in the West African sub-region – specifically, Ghana, Togo, and Benin – thus, helping to boost economic development in West Africa.
Kennedy also noted that Chevron has joined other energy companies supporting the Methane Guiding Principles to reduce methane emissions from natural gas exploration and production operations through digital innovation and deployment of best practices, which include designing, constructing, and operating its facilities in a manner to reduce emissions from its operations.
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