The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has spent more than N62 million to train 57 youths from Afam communities in its eastern operations on various skills, and to equip them with starter packs to begin their own businesses.
Afam communities are in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, and host the strategic Afam Power Stations and the Okoloma Gas Plant, built by SPDC Joint Venture.
The 57 youths were trained in electrical installations, welding and fabrication, fashion and design, computer and secretarial studies, and catering, among other vocational and technical skills to enhance their capacity to contribute meaningfully to the sustainable development of the impacted communities, the local government, Rivers State, and Nigeria.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony at the Air Force Secondary School, Port Harcourt, last Tuesday, SPDC’s General Manager, Social Performance and Community Affairs, Mr Tony Attah, said the event ends 18-month rigorous training programme, which consisted of vocational and technical training, industrial attachment, business development and leadership training workshops, and certification examinations managed by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
Represented at the celebration of success and achievement by Mr Theo Wellington, SPDC’s government and community relations manager, Attah praised the graduating youths for their excellent performance at the trade test 1 and 111 examinations administered by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, stating that the youths have now become professional craft people, equipped with enduring skills needed to set up small businesses in their communities.
He charged the youths, comprising of both sexes, to use the starter packs given to them to set up their own businesses, and deploy new talents gained at the training positively in order to succeed in their chosen trades, and therefore, elevate the economies of their communities to another level of buoyancy, viability and vibrancy.
Attah challenged the youths to strive to become big employers of labour, expand their businesses by maintaining fruitful partnerships, and strengthen their potentials by establishing more learning academies to train other youths to become good ambassadors of peace and economic growth, and contributors to the sustainable development of the region.
In his speech, the Rivers State Commissioner for Economic Empowerment and Employment Generation, Hon Felix Nweke, lauded SPDC for the bold initiative to empower the youths with useful and life-changing skills, and noted that this was what the government and people needed now to help fast-track the transformation of the region.
Represented at the event by the Director, Youth Enterprise, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Mr Pene Dimkpa, the commissioner stressed that the 57 youths, now fully engaged in meaningful enterprises, would reduce the number of restive and idle youths in the state, and thus, curb the spate of militancy in the region.
He thanked SPDC for giving meaning to the lives of the youths trained under the YTEP, and tasked the beneficiaries to make good use of the skills acquired and the tools handed over to them to impact positively on their respective communities, and indeed, the state.
Speaking on behalf of the graduands, Okechukwu Ogbonna, thanked SPDC for the opportunity given them to own their small businesses, and promised never to disappoint both their communities, the LGA, the state and the company.
A representative of Afam communities, Ndubuisi Iwela, also commended SPDC for empowering their youths and providing them with tools to start up their own businesses, and assured that the communities would continue to support the company’s business and sustainable development initiatives under the existing Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), under which platform, the youths were trained.
Stakeholders Want Policies To Harness Gas Resources
An earlier plan by the defunct Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) to equalise the consumption of gas, especially Liquefied Petroleum Gas may no longer fly as the government said subsidising the transport cost of the commodity in the face of a liberal market may not work.
This is just as stakeholders were demanding for deliberate policies that would enable the country to harness gas resources to benefit from the global energy transition agenda.
While the defunct PEF had disclosed earlier this year that a scheme to pay for the transportation of gas as part of an effort to encourage the use of cooking gas in homes across the country was being considered, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) said such a move may be unnecessary.
Executive Director, Distribution System, Storage and Retail Infrastructure at NMDPRA, Ogbugo Ukoha said although Nigeria has gas in large quantities, bottlenecks undermine realisation of full potential.
Speaking in Abuja recently on equalisation for gas, Uhoha said: “the Act provides for liberalisation. We can’t set prices, we can’t equalise it.”
According to him, the market would stabilise at some point and deal with prevailing issues. The Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), headed by Abdulrazaq Isa, has also noted the right policies were necessary if Nigeria would benefit from its gas resources.
Stressing on the evolving industry landscape, ongoing industry reforms, IOCs’ divestment, and the role indigenous exploration and production companies can play in this new era in guaranteeing the nation’s energy security, Isa said: “Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in view of the global energy transition agenda. Natural gas should be considered as a transition fuel with deliberate policies formulated to attract investment into the sector.”
While noting that the PIA enactment will set a solid growth foundation for the entire industry, the IPPG Chairman said it was imperative that effective regulations are formulated to derive the full benefits of the Act.
According to Isa, ‘’industry-wide consultation in the enactment of regulations is required to promote inclusivity and ensure robustness of regulations’’.
The IPPG Chairman also identified key challenges being faced by the industry in the areas of security, funding, high operating costs, lengthy contract cycle, amongst others.
’’We look forward to collaborating with the NUPRC in finding long lasting and sustainable solutions to these challenges,’’ Isa said.
Obasanjo Makes Case For Renewable Energy For Power Generation
Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged the country to embrace renewable energy for power generation.
Obasanjo, who led the country as military Head of State between 1975 and 1979 and civilian President from 1999 to 2007, made the call, last Friday at the inauguration of a two megawatts, MW, solar power project at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital,
He said solar energy is remarkably cost effective as it costs less than two and half years’ supply of diesel to power the generators at the Library and that the project marks one of the enduring personal legacies he is proud to call his own.
“Today, I am speaking to you in a facility powered by the sun – solar energy. It is the way of a future Carter envisioned all those years ago. It will help build the future we want. The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library solar power project is a reflection of our commitment to clean and renewable energy and is the single largest investment this not-for-profit organization has made.
“As large an investment as it is, it is remarkably cost effective. It costs less than two and half years supply of diesel to power our generators. So in diesel terms it pays for itself in less than 3years. So in effect the electricity it produces after three years is almost at no cost,” Obasanjo said.
He noted that solar energy does not emit any green house gases that diesel generators do, and that, as such, it has the potential to earn carbon credits which are currently priced at US$40 per ton.
He added: “Based on estimated annual production of 2,307,000 kilo Watt hours per year, we can expect to earn nearly US$39,589 in carbon credits per year.
“By monetising this facility with strategic sponsorships and marketing alliances we will be able to generate revenue.
“Combined, this solar facility can generate electricity, generate revenues that contribute to the upkeep of the library, help save the planet making a small contribution to climate mitigation and adaptation, provide shade for parking, and be an inspiration for future generations. Who says you can’t make a profit out of saving the planet?”
CSOs To Hold Confab On Fuel Subsidy Removal
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria operating under the aegis of Civil Society Coalition for Economic Development (CED), on Thursday, said plans were afoot to organise a conference on ‘Fuel subsidy removal’ in Nigeria.
The coalition, which comprised 82 groups, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, stressing that they were committed to pushing for subsidy removal as well as engaging other stakeholders in some sectors of the economy to see reasons with the government on the need to lay fuel subsidy payment to rest.
The convener of the group, Comrade Yusuf Dan Maitama, further said that the proposed theme of the conference is “Subsidy removal and the Future of Nigeria’s Economy,” adding that there was no better time for the total removal of fuel subsidy than now given the economic challenges the nation is going through.
According to the coalition, the conference which is slated for Tuesday and Wednesday next week will take place in Abuja and Lagos, featuring world-class resource persons in the oil and gas sector in order to refocus activities of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector and to secure the nation’s resources for its critical mass rather than private pocket benefactors.
The coalition lamented that the fuel subsidy regime which had been in place for the past 20 years, has enriched a few individuals and denied citizens of what was supposed to be a collective wealth, adding that moves by the present administration to end the subsidy regime were the right step.
Citing further reasons for the conference, the coalition posited that the Nigeria National Petroleum Company’s commitment to implementing a policy that ensures total removal of subsidy should be supported by all.
“The fuel subsidy regime has in the last 20 years done more harm than good to the economy of the nation and it appears Nigeria is the only country in the world that has a fuel subsidy regime in place.
“We have slated a conference for Tuesday and Wednesday, 2022 and we are going to assemble top class oil experts to speak on reasons fuel subsidy regime should be put to rest,” the group said.
Recall that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had a few days ago disclosed to the Senate Committee on Finance that the Federal government would offer a N5,000 transportation grant to poor Nigerians to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal in 2022.
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