ExxonMo­bil Boosts A’Ibom Com­mu­nity with N13bn In­vest­ments, Eco­nomic Ben­e­fits

THISDAY - - BUSINESS WORLD DEVELOPMENT - Okon Bassey

Mo­bil Pro­duc­ing Nige­ria (MPN), op­er­a­tor of the Nige­rian Na­tional Cor­po­ra­tion (NNPC/ MPN) joint ven­ture is al­most a house­hold name in Akwa Ibom State.

An af­fil­i­ate of ExxonMo­bil Cor­po­ra­tion, it of­ten sees it­self as a good cor­po­rate cit­i­zen and has af­firmed that its pres­ence in Akwa Ibom State is for a long haul; to show­case the com­pany’s com­mit­ment to “work­ing closely with the gov­ern­ment in help­ing to im­prove qual­ity of life.”

Since it be­gan oper­a­tions more than three decades ago and with its base in Akwa Ibom State, the oil com­pany has contributed to the econ­omy of the state and that of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment through its nu­mer­ous programmes and projects. In many ways, it has made in­vest­ments in ed­u­ca­tion, health, skill devel­op­ment and in forg­ing a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tion­ship with the host com­mu­ni­ties.

Apart from the oil com­pany’s com­mit­ment to pro­vide long term health, ed­u­ca­tional and eco­nomic ben­e­fits to its host com­mu­ni­ties, it re­cently per­formed the ground-break­ing cer­e­mony of three ma­jor com­mu­nity as­sis­tance projects in Akwa Ibom es­ti­mated to be worth N13 bil­lion. The cer­e­mony took place in Ikot Akata, Mk­pat Enin lo­cal gov­ern­ment area of the state.

Be­fore this event, ExxonMo­bil sub­sidiaries have ‘pow­ered the econ­omy of their neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties’ and that of the coun­try with in­vest­ments sup­port­ing eco­nomic growth.

For in­stance, they have contributed more than N130 bil­lion to the Niger Delta Devel­op­ment Com­mis­sion (NDDC) since 2001 and more than N230 mil­lion ground rent to Akwa Ibom State. It is also a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the state’s econ­omy with over N230 bil­lion an­nu­ally from the 13 per cent deriva­tion prin­ci­ple for oil pro­duc­ing states.

The oil com­pany has also sus­tained pay­ment of sub­ven­tion to health work­ers in the river­ine Ibeno com­mu­ni­ties of the state for more than two decades and has been pro­vid­ing sub­ven­tion to the ma­ter­nal birth in­jury hospi­tal in Itu, Akwa Ibom State for the same pe­riod; a devel­op­ment that helped many to have ac­cess to health­care for the treat­ment of an ail­ment that the so­ci­ety stig­ma­tises such pa­tients.

“ExxonMo­bil is our back­bone; the oil com­pany gives us cer­tain amount of money every month to sup­port us,’’ says Ngozi Ndubuau, the ma­tron of the hospi­tal which treats Vis­coVag­i­nal Fis­tula (VVF) cases.

For the ground-break­ing event, an­other ex­am­ple of the com­pany’s con­tri­bu­tion to the state and its peo­ple, the projects in­clude a tech­ni­cal skills ac­qui­si­tion fa­cil­ity at the Com­mu­nity Tech­ni­cal Col­lege, Mk­pat Enin lo­cal gov­ern­ment area, a trauma cen­tre at the Univer­sity of Uyo teach­ing hospi­tal, and an en­gi­neer­ing fac­ulty com­plex at the Univer­sity of Uyo.

Es­ti­mated to be com­pleted over the next 18 months, it is be­lieved that the in­vest­ment is one of the largest com­mu­nity in­vest­ment ex­pen­di­ture by any com­pany in the coun­try.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, while the trauma cen­tre would take care of the health needs of the peo­ple, the en­gi­neer­ing fac­ulty would when com­pleted pro­vide a con­duc­tive learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for stu­dents, while the skills ac­qui­si­tion cen­tre will serve as the hub for the train­ing of youths in var­i­ous vo­ca­tions.

Be­cause of the vol­ume of the in­vest­ment and com­ing at a time when it seems dif­fi­cult for oil com­pa­nies to com­mit­ment to de­vel­op­ing their host com­mu­ni­ties, the cer­e­mony turned out to be a meet­ing point for top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and key play­ers in Nige­ria’s oil in­dus­try.

For in­stance, the Chair­man/Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Mo­bil Pro­duc­ing Nige­ria Un­lim­ited, Paul McGrath, and vice chair­man of the oil com­pany, Udom Inoyo, led the del­e­ga­tion to the ground-break­ing cer­e­mony.

Also, the Akwa Ibom State gov­ern­ment was fully rep­re­sented with Gov­er­nor Udom Em­manuel, along­side the deputy gov­er­nor, Moses Ekpo, and the sec­re­tary to the state gov­ern­ment, Em­manuel Ekuwem, com­mis­sion­ers as well as royal fa­thers and the academia.

Speak­ing at the cer­e­mony, McGrath noted with sat­is­fac­tion the cor­dial re­la­tion­ship ex­ist­ing be­tween the oil com­pany and the state gov­ern­ment re­stat­ing the joint ven­ture’s com­mit­ment to long-term oper­a­tions and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tion­ship with the state.

R-L: Akwa Ibom Gov­er­nor Udom Em­manuel; MD/Chair­man ExxonMo­bil, Paul McGrath; Gen­eral Man­ager, Gas Division, NAPIMS /NNPC, Hil­lary Ak­pan; and Vice Chair­man, ExxonMo­bil, Udom Inoyo, at the ground-break­ing cer­e­mony for ExxonMo­bil’s N13bn com­mu­nity...

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