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SHELL SPENDS $45M ON COMMUNITIES

By NBF News

Oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), has doled out US 45 million dollars in funding developmental projects in host-communities under its Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) Programme.

The GMoU, which replaces the crisis-prone MoU, is an agreement between Shell and clusters of company under which the communities and representatives of local and state governments as well as Non-Governmental Organizations jointly decide and monitor the execution of projects.

Head of the company's Strategy and Planning Unit, Mrs. Gloria Udoh, gave the figure at the second series of this year's News Editors and Bureau Chiefs Forum held in Port Harcourt.

She said also that 250 projects, including, 'pre-GMoU legacy projects', had been executed using the GMoU model.

Mrs. Udoh told the senior journalists that the SPDC signed and implemented agreements with 17 pilot GMoU clusters covering 187 communities as at the end of last year.

The figure represented about 20 per cent of the local communities around Shell's business operations in the Niger Delta region.

Among the projects undertaken by the communities were solar water schemes, land and marine transportation services, local health insurance, micro credit programmes, award of foreign and local scholarships and infrastructural devolvement.

Listing the gains of the programme, Mrs. Udoh cited the Nembe Cluster in Bayelsa State that recently set up a community-based limited liability company being managed independently by their Board of Trustees.

On the challenges facing the GMoU programme, the Shell senior official said the scheme could do with more funding from other donor agencies and its government partner as well as improved security in the Delta region.

'We hope that funding from our government partner and security condition in the Delta will improve to enable us continue replicating the model in areas where we have not yet been able to implement it, particularly where we have production facilities and assets'.

Highlights of the forum was the presentation of reports by some of the cluster chairmen from Rivers and Bayelsa states, who said the GMoU model has mainly enhanced job and wealth creation as well as peace in the communities.