Rivers Governor Urges Transparency In Community Development Trusts

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Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara, has called for responsible management of funds allocated to host Communities Development Trusts (HCDT) in the Niger Delta.

The governor spoke on Tuesday at an event to unveil three additional HDCTs by The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), operator of the SPDC Joint Venture comprising SPDC, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), TotalEnergies Limited and Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited.

Represented by the state commissioner for Chieftaincy & Community Affairs, Charles Amadi, the governor said the development in oil producing communities as envisaged in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) would only become a reality if those charged with managing the funds put the people first and make themselves accountable.

HCDT is a creation of the PIA and requires oil exploration companies to allocate three percent of their operating expenditure in the previous year for the development of their host communities.

The three new HCDTs represent the hosts of SPDC JV at its Logistics Base, Akukutoru and TNP-2 areas and bring to 31 the number so far inaugurated by the Joint Venture out of the 33 for all its operations in the Niger Delta.

Governor Fubara said, “I appreciate Shell for your continued support at ensuring the economic growth of the communities.”

SPDC has been the industry leader in the implementation of the HCDT provisions of the PIA.

Also speaking at the event, Managing Director of SPDC and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Osagie Okunbor, acknowledged the challenges of implementing a new legislation like the PIA, noting that SPDC engaged over 300 communities on the provisions of the law and the need for stronger collaboration between SPDC and the communities to ensure the desired growth and development.

Okunbor, who was represented by the HCDT Project Manager, Dr. Alice Ajeh, said, “Ultimately, community development rests on the shoulders of the communities themselves.”

A cross section of officials of the Rivers State Government, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Service and the Shell Peroleum Development Company with the chairmen of three Host Communities Development Trusts at the official unveling of the Trusts in Port Harcourt… on Tuesday

In his remarks, the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, commended SPDC’s leading position in the implementation of the HCDT provisions of the PIA and emphasised the importance of fostering sustainable economic development through robust implementation strategies.

“NUPRC, in line with global best practices and in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, has developed robust implementation strategies for the Trusts. This is for the purpose of fostering sustainable economic development of host communities,” the NUPRC chief said through his representative, Mrs. Chidinma Nwabueze.

Komolafe enjoined the host communities to guarantee seamless oil and gas exploration and production in their respective communities to reap maximum benefits from the trusts.”

In his remark, the Chief Upstream Investment Officer of NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS), Mr. Bala Wunti, said, “We have high expectations for communities to collaborate with industry stakeholders to achieve peaceful coexistence. The boards of trustees should ensure that there are systems in place to address conflicts or grievances through dialogue that ensures resolutions that are beneficial to all the parties.”

Represented at the event by NUIMS Manager for Stakeholder Relations, Mrs. Ejidoh Uzo, Wunti said, “I commend the host communities for their prompt utilization of the instruments of the PIA as administered. This is a laudable initiative of Shell that will bring about positive development to the communities.” 

Chairmen of the respective three new trusts – Mrs. Gogo Helen Osima for Akukutoru; Mr. Promise Wobo Iwezor for Logistics Base; and Mr. Macauley Aminikpo for TNP-2 – thanked SPDC JV, NNPC, NUPRC and their respective communities for the confidence reposed in them. They promised that the trustees would ensure transparency and accountability in discharging their duties.

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