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Expert Tasks IOCs On Host Communities Development

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Elder statesman and expert in the environment sector, Engr Olu Andah Wai – Ogosu, has urged IOCs and other multinational companies operating in the Niger Delta region to take full responsibilities for the development of their host communities. Wai-Ogosu who spoke with The Tide in an interview at the weekend said the prevalence of conflicts between oil companies and their host communities in the Niger Delta was due to the neglect of the host communities by the multinationals. He expressed disappointment over the fact that the IOCs place commercial and profit motives over the development of their host communities. He said such attitude of corporate negligence on the part of the IOCs was the bane of the people of the host communities who live in abject poverty and infrastructural decay.
Using Onne, an industrial hub in Rivers State as an example, the Elder statesman said despite the numerous companies operating in Onne, there was no meaningful host community engagement as no MoU was signed with the people of Onne. Wai – Ogosu who described the practice in Onne and Niger Delta as “corporate negligence” called on all multinationals and corporate organisations operating in the Niger Delta to introduce a more practical community engagement model and implement the Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) signed with their host communities.
Wai-Ogosu who spoke with The Tide in an exclusive interview yesterday, pointed out that; “modern industry practices require that both the oil firms and the host communities operate in mutual agreement and synergy through a well established community engagement model that would be subject to upward reviews to suit evolving developments to avert crisis.”
He noted that oil related conflicts have been a predominant feature of the Niger Delta over the years and urged prospecting oil firms and other corporate organzsations in the Niger Delta to learn from the experiences of the past to improve their host community relations by contributing meaningfully to the development of their host communities.
The environmental expert , said host communities were major stakeholders in the oil and gas business, noting that their active participation in the sector was an elixir to smooth business operation. “It’s certain that business activities can’t thrive in an environment where there is mutual disagreement and incessant conflicts, The Federal Government’s policies on the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone are not properly directed, there are fillers that SNEPCo, a major affiliate of Shell wants to relocate from Onne over flimsy and unjustifiable excuses. This is totally unacceptable to the people of Onne. Global standards in oil and gas business require that host communities be given their due sense of belonging to promote peace and development. The business concern must be accommodative of the development interest of the host communities. Any company that glosses over the interest of its host communities is bound to face challenges.”

 

Taneh Beemene

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Only 9,103, 653 Workers Have Pension Accounts  -PenCom

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Only 9,103 ,653 workers had Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA) with Pension Fund Administrators as of the end of August, this year.
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) disclosed this in its Total RSA registrations as at 31 August, 2020.
Latest report obtained from PenCom, also said in its second quarter report that “The RSA registrations grew to 9,039, 727 as at second quarter 2020, moving from 8,998,580 in the first quarter 2020, representing a growth of 0.46 per cent”.
The growth was attributed to the increased level of compliance by the private sector as a result of the various steps taken by the commission as well as marketing strategies of the PFAs .
It said the pension industry recorded a 0.45 per cent growth (41,074) in the scheme membership during the second quarter of 2020, moving from 9.06 million contributors at the end of the preceding quarter to 9.1million .
The growth in the industry membership was driven by the RSA scheme, which had an increase of 41,147 contributors representing 0.46 per cent.
It added that the membership of the Closed Pension Fund Administration scheme declined by 73 members to 17,125, while the Approved Existing Scheme membership remained unchanged at 40,951 as at the second quarter of 2020.
During the quarter under review, the PFAs registered a total of 2,839 contributors under the Micro Pension Plan for whom a total of N7.4m had been remitted to the RSAs as pension contributions.
Cummulatively, a total of 51,974 informal sector workers had registered for the MPP and contributed the sum of N 42.1m as of 30 June, 2020 .
The PenCom’s report said during the quarter under review that 5,100 private sector organisations applied for issuance of Pension Clearance Certificate out of which 4 ,937 were processed and issued PCCs, while 163 applications were turned down due to non-remittance of pension contributions for the appropriate period.
The CPFAs, it said, were pension schemes in the private sector existing prior to the introduction of CPS and were licensed to operate as CPFAs and membership of this fund was restricted to employees of that specific organisation.

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Bayelsa Govt Set To Boost Agriculture

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has restated the commitment of his administration to achieve food security through mechanized agricultural production.
Governor Diri stated this in Yenagoa, the state capital, at the flag-off of this year’s Farming Season.
The governor who was represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, noted that although Bayelsa State has comparative advantage in almost all areas of agriculture, the present administration was focusing on four key areas of rice, cassava, fishery and plantain production.
A statement made available to The Tide by the Media Aide to the Deputy Governor, Mr. Doubara Atasi, says that the governor called on farmers and other development partners to join hands with the state to revolutionize agriculture and transform the economic fortunes of the state.
The governor reiterated that the fulcrum of his prosperity agenda lies on the four cardinal points of agriculture, entrepreneurship, skill acquisition and youth empowerment, assuring that government would not rest until it achieves food sustainability and self reliance in several areas of the economy.
He maintained that government has started the DiriBoost Empowerment Scheme in addition to securing a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), loan facility to boost agricultural and small-scale entrepreneurial activities.
The statement added that Governor Diri also called on youths of the state to take advantage of government’s huge investment in the agric sector to be self reliant rather than being dependent on public office holders for their survival.
The state chief executive maintained that Bayelsans should see farming as a dignified profession,just as he noted that government was willing to support farmers in order to make the state self sufficient in food production.
“Our people have been using crude, difficult and very challenging methods to produce agriculturally. And so, they have not been able to produce enough food for us to eat and sell to make good money”, he said.
“The Prosperity Government does not believe in that method of production. We believe in mechanized agricultural production. But to succeed, we believe that all of us must put our hands on deck to achieve greater prosperity through agriculture.”
“As you are aware, a lot of farms have been established and clearing is ongoing in several communities for the purposes of ensuring that we have food sufficiency.You are also aware that the Federal Government and the State Government are partnering and we have obtained some loans through the gracious efforts of the CBN for which capacity is being deployed”, Governor Diri noted.
Also speaking, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief David Alagoa, described food as the essence of life and praised farmers for their resilience through the trying period of the novel Covid-19 pandemic.
He restated that government was taking steps, including engagement of development partners and farmers to transform the agricultural sector, empha-sising that the state’s Ministry of Agriculture would serve as a rallying point for the growth of the sector in the state.

 

Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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FAAN Operates New VIP Lounge At PH Airport …As RSG Lounge Remains Shut

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) now operates a new VIP/Protocol lounge at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, where top political office holders and top company executives, among others, are hosted while in the airport.
The Tide’s findings revealed that while the VIP/Protocol lounge owned by the Rivers State Government remained under lock and key, governors and other personalities are now being diverted to the new lounge being run by FAAN.
When contacted for comments on the development, the Head of the Corporate Affairs Department at the airport, Mr Kindle Akinbode, explained to The Tide that it was not FAAN but the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that closed the Rivers State Protocol Lounge.
According to him, the regulating agency closed the lounge because it did not meet the Covid-19 standard protocols for operation.
“The NCAA said that all the taps dispensers and door at the lounge must be changed from manual to sensor ones to avoid touch.
“I personally sent a letter to the governor of the state through the Chief of Staff, informing him of the  development, two weeks before we resumed operation at the airport.
“The protocol lounge was built and is maintained by the Rivers State Government, and everything you see there is put by them, and what we do is to run the place because it is within the airport environment, on behalf of the state government.
“The governor was aware of the standards of the Covid-19, and he had promised to address the issue of the lounge, and I know the efforts made by FAAN here to the extent that individuals had to raise money to meet  the standards for this airport to resume operations”, he said.
Akinbode, however, described the relationship between FAAN and the Rivers State Government in running the lounge as symbiotic, adding that the other lounge belonging to FAAN is now serving as a bridge for VIPs to be received while at the  airport.
He said that while the Rivers State Government’s VIP lounge attracts no charge, FAAN charges a token of N3,000 for those that make use of the FAAN’s VIP lounge with the exception of the governors.

 

Corlins Walter

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