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Shell pays $37b for Niger Delta development


Monday, 07 December 2009 00:00 Dominic Adewole

FOLLOWING the Federal Government directive that multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region should dedicate three per cent of their earnings to fast-track development in the region, the Royal Dutch oil firm, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has commenced the payment of $37 billion to federal coffer.

The contribution, as the company explained, were being sourced from its joint venture oil exploration and production in the country since the past five years ranging from the sales of oil, taxes, royalties and shares.

SPDC’s Regional Executive Vice-President (Exploration and Production in Africa), Mrs. Ann Pickard stated this in Asaba, during a town hall meeting with Women Opinion Leaders from the South-South geo-political zone, comprising Delta, Ondo and Edo.

According to her, about 2,703 secondary schools and 850 university students from the region and other parts of the country have benefitted from the scholarships scheme of the company.

She also stated that the SPDC in recent years, has spent about  $2.1 million to train 492 youths in various skills such as welding, entry and pipe lifting under its joint venture programmes.

Mrs. Pickard further stated that the company has also built over 35 health care facilities across the region where no fewer than 8,000 persons were employed as community health workers, 1,800 babies have been delivered and thousands have received medical care.

Her words: “It is an awesome responsibility and the onus is on you to turn these challenges into opportunity. But I know you are equal to the task because you are probably the most powerful agent in this community.

“You must continue to play an important role in the socio-economic development of the Niger Delta region.”

In her remarks, the state’s Commissioner for Women Affairs, Queen Victoria Ikechukwu, said the event tagged: “Women as Catalyst for Development of the Niger Delta”, lectured by Prof. Rose Aziza was apt, as according to him, “development is all about people most especially women. Any developmental effort that is not women oriented will not meet the need and aspiration of our complex society.”

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