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117 Rivers Communities Get N5bn GMoU Fund

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No fewer than 125 communities in 12 cluster development areas in Rivers State have so far received a whopping N5billion for the development of their communities as part of the implementation of the innovative Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).

This is part of the N7billion disbursed by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) for the sustainable development of host communities under the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) implementation in the Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states.

These were disclosed last Friday in Port Harcourt at the first-ever GMoU Fair for Rivers State communities, organized to showcase the individual community achievements in the implementation of the innovative development concept.

Of the 12 cluster areas, only 10 are active with about 117 communities, and have got the lion share of the development fund, released directly into their bank accounts by SPDC for the execution of people-oriented projects and programmes, initiated and implemented by the communities.

The active cluster development areas that have benefited from the funding over the last four years are Akuku Toru with five communities; Andoni with 20; while three are in Degema 1; 30 in Degema 3; nine in Etche 1; 12 in Etche 2; nine in Greater Port Harcourt City; four in Shell Industrial Area; 12 in Ikwerre; and three in Shell Residential Area.

Available statistics indicate that the Akuku Toru Cluster has received N1,036,661,677.33 and spent N795,187,665.10 on 45 completed infrastructure projects, nine human capacity development programmes and 12 economic empowerment schemes as well as 19 ongoing infrastructure projects, two human capacity and another two economic empowerment schemes; while Andoni has got N139,750,000, and spent N63,383,570 on infrastructure projects and N33,356,963.05 on human capital development and economic empowerment schemes in four years.

Both cluster communities also have the sum of N158, 217,035.45 and N30, 917,506.97 unspent funds in their respective bank accounts.

Available statistics indicate that the three Degema 1communities have received N1, 215, 810, 893, and have expended N1, 006, 681, 319 on 36 completed and 17 ongoing infrastructure projects, human capital development and economic empowerment schemes, including 11 overseas scholarship programmes in the United States; while the 30 Degema 3 communities have so far got N2, 076, 666, 666.70 and pumped N1, 797, 652, 821.71 on 49 completed infrastructure projects and 52 human capital development programmes as well as 14 ongoing infrastructure projects and 39 economic empowerment schemes.

Both Degema 1 and 3 have N209, 129, 374, and N366, 242, 721.70 as balance in their separate bank accounts for the execution of more development projects in their communities.

In the Degema 3 soft programmes portfolio, 531 indigenes have received local tertiary and or secondary scholarships, paid bursary to 1,730 persons, equipped 368 unskilled indigenes with sustainable skills, empowered 663 with micro credit loans, sponsored one person on overseas scholarship and created transport scheme for 108 indigenes of the cluster.

The Tide investigations show that the nine communities in the Etche 1 cluster area received a total sum of N590, 306, 088, out which they spent N520, 888, 999.33 on 85 projects, out of which 69 have been completed while 16 are ongoing. In this project template are 24 human capital development programmes, 13 electricity and 18 water schemes, 14 infrastructure projects and 16 economic empowerment schemes.

Whereas the 12 communities in Etche 2 cluster area have so far received N435, 639, 610 and expended N343, 896, 077. 39 on 34 completed infrastructure projects and 12 ongoing ones, in addition to 21 human capital development programmes and two economic empowerment schemes; the nine communities in Greater Port Harcourt City have got N320, 032, 073, and spent N278, 712, 826 on no fewer than 35 projects. Both Etche 2 and GPHC clusters also have bank accounts balance amounting to N91, 743, 532.61 and N41, 319, 247, respectively, for more people-oriented development projects.

The Tide also found that the four IA Cluster communities have received N360, 584, 323.40, and spent N297, 324, 573.32 on 47 completed projects and one ongoing project, just as the 12 communities in Ikwerre Cluster area have confirmed receipt of N536, 506, 100, out of which N497, 192, 009 has been spent on 38 completed projects and 10 ongoing ones.

Similarly, the three RA Cluster communities have received N276, 950, 790, out of which they have spent N137, 206, 510.12 on 25 projects and programmes, split in 21 completed and 4 ongoing portfolios. Of these, they are eight human capital development programmes, five electricity projects, one water project, six infrastructure projects and five economic empowerment schemes.

Even as they have put these development landmarks on the ground, the IA, Ikwerre and RA cluster areas still have bank accounts balances running into N63, 259, 749; N39, 314, 091; and N139, 744, 279.88, respectively for further sustainable development purposes.

Besides, Akuku Toru Cluster communities still have outstanding accruing development funds amounting to N74, 047, 262. 00; while Degema 3 communities have N148, 333, 333, 30 yet to be paid by SPDC.

In their separate speeches, the chairmen of the 10 cluster development boards said that the GMoU initiative was the metamorphosis of the microcosm of resource control in the Niger Delta, and advised communities in the region to key into the concept to enable them benefit from the resources derivable from their areas.

Managing Director, SPDC, Mutiu Sunmonu, who said that these investments were a sure way to bring about sustainable development and positively impacting change to host communities, stressed that the transparency and accountability in the GMoU model provides a good platform for other local and international donor agencies to fund development projects directly through the community development boards.

Sunmonu, who spoke through SPDC’s Government and Community Relations Manager, Fufeyin Funkapo, noted that the range of projects and programmes executed under the GMoU template cover microcredit for men and women, scholarships, innovative healthcare, skills acquisition schemes, solar-powered electrification and water projects, among many others, and thanked Rivers State Government, Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA), Economic Support Initiative (ESI), the local government councils, host communities, implementing non-governmental organisations and joint venture partners for ensuring the success of the initiative thus far.

Wife of Rivers State Governor and Founder of ESI, Dame Judith Amaechi, eulogized the SPDC and GMoU concept, and acknowledged the sterling contributions of the initiative to the overall development of the state.

Represented at the event by Mrs Nina Ejims, the governor’s wife emphasized that ESI supports 70 schools and 210 teachers in the state, and has partnered with Ikwerre and Degema cluster boards under the GMoU scheme to implement human capital and infrastructure development projects with significant dividends to the rural population in the state.

Nelson Chukwudi

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Oil & Energy

NNPC, UTM Seal Deal On First Indigenous Floating LNG Project

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Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and UTM Offshore have signed a Heads of Terms (HoT) agreement for the construction of the nation’s first indigenous floating LNG project.
The agreement, described as a major step towards bolstering Nigeria’s energy security and promoting the utilisation of its abundant gas resources, was signed on July 20, in Abuja.
It covers the 1.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) floating LNG project which is seen as a “must-do” initiative for Nigeria.
Signing the agreement, NNPC’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mele Kyari, expressed the company’s readiness to secure gas feedstock towards the project.
Group Managing Director UTM Offshore Ltd., Julius Rone, who described the deal as a milestone achievement, said it showcased the capability of indigenous companies to collaborate with world-class energy conglomerates to drive growth in Nigeria’s energy sector.
Rome further explained that apart from significantly cutting down on gas flaring and supporting the country’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions, the project would also create over 7,000 job opportunities, contributing to the nation’s economic growth and development.
For this project, UTM Offshore awarded the contract for the conceptual design service to JGC Corporation back in 2021.
It would be recalled that in late 2022, the consortium of JGC and Technip Energies secured the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract.
The project was also supported by $5 billion from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
Earlier this year, however, NNPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Norwegian Golar LNG, an owner and operator of marine LNG infrastructure, to build a floating LNG plant in Nigeria.

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Oil & Energy

‘NNPC Spent N15b To Reconstruct Lagos-Badagry Expressway’

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) has disbursed N15 billion for the reconstruction of the Lagos Badagry Expressway under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure Tax Credit (RITC) Scheme.
The N15 billion represents a 100 per cent payment of the funding of the Lagos-Badagry Road rehabilitation under the tax credit funding of the NNPC Ltd.
Group Chief Executive, NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, made this known when he led NNPC’s management team with some top government officials to inspect the ongoing rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway (Agbara Junction-Nigeria/Benin Border).
The road under rehabilitation is being funded by the NNPC Ltd. under the Federal Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
The execution of the scheme is being carried out in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as the supervisor and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for NNPC’s tax obligations deductions.
This is in response to address the plight faced by petroleum products marketers in transportation which affects nationwide distribution.
Kyari said the fund disbursed was part of the N621.24 billion earmarked for the reconstruction of 21 roads nationwide under the scheme.
He expressed satisfaction over the stage of the road development.
“We are covering 1,804.6mkm across the country and taking another set of over a trillion naira investment on infrastructure in Nigeria, believing that with the tax credit system which Mr President has put in place, very soon there will be massive change.
“NNPC as the enabler will consider from its cash flow and fund whatever FIRS and Ministry of works approve for the company”, he said.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, represented by the Director, Highways, Roads and Rehabilitation of the Ministry, Mr Folorunsho Esan, said the intervention of the NNPC sped up the reconstruction of the expressway.
Esan said the project was 40 per cent completed.
“In the next 12 months we should be able to deliver this project because the drainages are in place, just for earth works and pavement works, it cannot take us more than 12 months,” he said.
Speaking on the gridlock being caused by the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project, he said the contractor would clear all impediments and move out of site by December 15 to make the highway free for Yuletide.

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Oil & Energy

Oil Marketers Urge Buhari To Crash Diesel Price

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Petroleum marketers under the platform of Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) rose from their 2nd National Executive Council (NEC) meeting last week, within a plea to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make dollars available at official rate to oil marketers.
This, they said, will enable them import diesel, end petrol scarcity, and ultimately save the Nigerian economy from sinking, saying that dollar support should be available till Dangote Refinery comes on stream later in the year.
The association, among others, urged the National Assembly to immediately enact a Bill for the establishment of Energy Bank for easy transaction in petroleum products in the sector.
National President of the Association, Mr Benneth Korie, who briefed the media after the NEC meeting in Abuja, noted that the bulk of the operational challenge peppering marketers and depot owners spring from expensive diesel which hovers around N850/litre.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for approving a higher bridging cost payment to transporters, Korie said the operators’ challenges were far from over as oil marketers and depot owners spend about N20 million weekly on diesel to power their operations, thus eroding their profits.
The association urges the National Assembly to review the policy of taxation as it affects petroleum products supply and distribution chain.

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