In a bid to reduce the effect of fire disaster and safeguard lives and property in Rivers State, indigenous oil giant, Belemaoil Producing Ltd has acquired a state-of-the-art fire fighting facility. This is as the company trained and certified 30 personnel, drawn from its host communities on various fire fighting skills to render rescue services to the public.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the fire fighters at the company’s corporate headquarters in Port Harcourt the Executive Vice President, Admin/HR/Corporate Affairs, Belemaoil Producing Ltd, Mrs Rosemary C. Asiegbu, stated that the company was the first indigenous oil company that was ensuring the full implementation of its HSE campaign.
She said with the successive conclusion of the training and the setting up of the world-class fire fighting facility, Belemaoil was set to support efforts by the government in combating fire outbreak in the state.
Asiegbu said the initiative was part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility to the people of the state where it operates.
She said: “We are an indigenous company. If you check out, we are the first indigenous oil company that is going head on to ensuring that we implement our HSE not only to make sure that our immediate environment and our staff are safe, we are ensuring that our neighbouring environment, beyond our immediate environment will also benefit from our strives.
“What informed this, is our social responsibility and our HR Drive and HSE campaign. We wanted to step up our HSE campaign to make sure that our environment will be safe. Just as our Belemaoil Model is inclusive of the host communities in making sure that their social and economic wellbeing will be improved. If you check all our environs, there is no firefighting equipment around, even beyond up to the Government House. And our President in his vision makes sure that everybody will be happy and benefit from what they should.”
The EVP, who congratulated the Founder/President of Belemaoil Producing Ltd, Mr Jack-Rich Tein Jr., for his strive in developing host communities, she pointed out that fire fighting is a noble profession though challenging. She said the training will be a continuous process to ensure that the trainees acquire more skills in fire fighting and rescue.
She advised the fire fighters, saying, “ Fire fighting is a serious job, serious because you will always be prepared. You will always be expected to train and be fit all the time. If you are on duty or you are not on duty you are supposed to be prepared because something might come up and the people on duty, might not be able to cope with it. Automatically, you will be drafted to be in charge.
“Again, to be a fire fighter is a multi-faceted job in the sense that your job will not just concentrate on saving the human and material assets. Fighters, are bold, fire fighters must have the sanity when it comes to taking decisions because if you are not careful on the decision you take, that might even cause more disaster. So fire fighters are looked upon as potential heroes because they are supposed to do what normal people are not supposed to do under normal circumstances.”
In his closing remarks, the Director, Production and Engineering, Belemaoil Producing Ltd, Mr. Mufaa Welsh, described the event as successful. He pointed out that the training is a show of confidence and the love that the Founder/President of Belemaoil, Mr. Jackrich Tein Jr. has for the people.
He said the training will be a continuous process for the fire fighters even when they are on the job, adding that they were being trained by TDI, a company from the United States of America.
Speaking earlier during the demonstration of skills by the graduands, the Chief Fire Trainer, Gary Eve said the graduands had been adequately trained and certified to provide rescue and fire fighting services
He said they were trained in the area of fire attack skills, changing hose pattern, among others. He informed that all the graduands have acquired basic fire fighting skills and are certified to be deployed to undertake such task.
Some of the trained fire fighters expressed gratitude to the Founder and President of Belemaoil Producing Ltd, Jack-Rich Tein Jur for empowering them to save life and property in the state.
One of the graduands, Gibson Okuroma, in his vote of thanks said “I never dreamt of it and no member of my crew dreamt of it. Other multinationals never go down to the grassroots to ask persons who have not dreamt of been in the city or being a fire fighter to come out and be trained. I thank Belemaoil for going to the local communities to pick people to give them a noble profession”, he stated.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of certificates to the graduands for successfully completing one month training on fire fighting and rescue skills.
Lawmakers Want CBN To Halt Naira Devaluation
The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to urgently put in place a policy to check further devaluation of the naira to the United States dollar and other international legal tenders.
The House decried that while the Nigerian currency was losing value, others in Africa were appreciating.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the House unanimously adopted a motion moved by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Pensions, Mr Bamidele Salam, which warned the CBN of the implications of further devaluing the naira.
The motion was titled, ‘Matter of urgent public importance on the need for the Central Bank of Nigeria to urgently put in place monetary policies to stop the free fall of the naira against the dollar and other international legal tenders’.
Salam recalled that the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, while addressing the Bankers’ Committee at a summit on the economy in Lagos earlier in February, informed the committee about the naira devaluation against the dollar.
The lawmaker also quoted Emefiele as saying at the summit that the official exchange rate stood at N410 to the dollar.
“That is 7.6 per cent weaker than the rate of N379 published on the central bank’s website,” Salam noted.
According to the lawmaker, while the value of the naira relative to the dollar had declined by nine per cent in the last six months, the South African rand and Ghanaian cedi had appreciated by 11.4 per cent and one per cent, respectively.
Salam also recalled that the CBN adopted multiple exchange rates in 2020, in a bid to avoid an outright devaluation.
He noted that the official rate used as a basis for budget preparation and other official transactions differed from a closely controlled exchange rate for investors and exporters known as the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate Fixing Methodology.
He stressed that the naira had traded in a tight range between N400 and N410, while the NAFEX rate was different from the parallel market, considered illegal by the CBN, where the naira closed at 502.
Salam said, “The House is concerned that devaluation is likely to cause inflation because imports will be more expensive any imported goods or raw material will increase in price; aggregate demand increases, causing demand-pull inflation. Firms/exporters have less incentive to cut costs because they can rely on the devaluation to improve competitiveness.
”The concern is that the long-term devaluation may lead to lower productivity because of the decline in incentives.
”The House is further concerned that devaluation of the naira makes it more difficult for Nigerian youths especially in the IT sector, whose businesses are online and must necessarily transact businesses in the US dollars.
“It also reduces real wages. In a period of low wage growth, a devaluation that causes rising import prices will make consumers feel worse off “.
Four West African Countries To Buy Nigeria’s Unutilised Electricity
Four West African countries, Niger, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso, are collaborating to buy the unutilised power produced in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Executive Board of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), Sule Abdulaziz, disclosed this at the WAPP meeting on the North core project in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Abdulaziz, who is also the acting Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said the four countries were collaborating to make the power purchase from Nigeria through the North core Power Transmission Line currently being built.
He explained, “The power we will be selling is the power that is not needed in Nigeria.
“The electricity generators that are going to supply power to this transmission line are going to generate that power specifically for this project. So, it is unutilised power”.
He said Nigeria was expecting new generators to participate in the energy export for the 875km 330KV Northcore transmission line from Nigeria through Niger, Togo, Benin to Burkina Faso.
Abdulaziz said, “In addition, there are some communities that are under the line route, about 611 of them, which will be getting power so that there won’t be just a transmission line passing without impact”.
The WAPP chairman noted that the project, funded by World Bank, French Development Council and the African Development Bank, had recorded progress, adding that the energy ministers would be addressing security issues for the project at another meeting in Abuja.
He said, “Nigeria has the greatest advantage among these countries because the electricity is going to be exported from Nigerian Gencos (generation companies).
“So, from that, the revenue is going to be enhanced and a lot of people will be employed in Nigeria”.
The Secretary-General, WAPP, Siengui Appolinaire-Ki, said the cost of the project was about $570 million, adding that part of the investment in each country would be funded by that particular nation.
According to him, the countries in the partnership, including Nigeria, are also being supported by donors.
He said the funding agreement was ready as partner countries were awaiting the disbursements.
Appolinaire-Ki, however, said the donor agencies had said they needed a Power Purchase Agreement between the buying and the selling countries to be executed before releasing the fund.
Reps Probe N275bn Agric Loans Under Yar’Adua, Jonathan, Buhari
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the disbursement of loans and credit facilities by the Federal Government in the agriculture sector since 2009.
The period under review covers the administrations of the late Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan as well as the present President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The resolution was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Chike Okafor at the plenary last Wednesday, titled ‘Need to investigate disbursements of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security’.
Okafor said, from 2009 to date, the Federal Government had approved the disbursement of funds to farmers in various schemes to the tune of over N275billion, ranging from Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme to the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, to help farmers improve agricultural production and guarantee food security in Nigeria.
The lawmaker also noted that apart from increasing food supply, the schemes were to grant agricultural loans to large and small-scale commercial farmers to lower the prices of agricultural produce, generate employment and increase foreign exchange earnings.
He said, “The House is aware that since the approval, most farmers have not been able to access the loans due to stringent requirements being demanded by banks from prospective borrowers and the alleged siphoning of over N105billion meant for farmers by management of NIRSAL.
“The House is concerned that food production has not attained the expected level, despite the approval of over N275billion facilities to farmers.
“The House is worried that the projected diversification of the economy from oil production to agricultural production and increase in agricultural output, food supply and promoting low food inflation will not be achieved if farmers are unable to access loans meant to increase agricultural production”.
Adopting the motion, the House resolved to mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency to “investigate disbursements and compliance of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security in the country”.
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