LOCAL CONTENT ACT: GROUP ACCUSES SHELL OF FRUSTRATING LOCAL INVESTORS
The Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC) has accused Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of frustrating local contractors and of being economical with the truth as regards the implementation of the Local Content Act.
The group alleged that the company was short-changing local investors in the oil rich region and threatened to expose the secrets of SPDC to the whole world if such practices aimed at frustrating local investors were not stopped.
Media Relations Officer of SPDC, Warri, Mr. Joseph Obari, had said the company had taken deliberate steps to encourage community development and Nigerian content in its operations, adding that the Managing Director, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu had developed a deep personal interest in making sure communities were involved in the company's operations as much as possible.
He said the company had, among other gestures, registered 589 community vendors and awarded 'them contracts as well as built their capacity through business clinics, entrepreneurship and vendor development, project management certification for a variety of disciplines and services.'
But in a statement made available to Daily Sun yesterday in Asaba, NDIMRC claimed that the oil company was not telling the public the truth about its dealings with local investors in the region and vowed to reveal the facts about Shell except it embraced the Local Content Act of the Federal Government.
The statement signed by its President, Nelly Emma (Cross River), John Sailor, secretary (Bayelsa) and Mukoro Stanley, public relations officer (Delta) warned that it would not allow the company to frustrate any community again in the region as it did to the Ogoni community in Rivers State.
NDIMRC maintained that Shell was only dishing out jobs of less than N10 million to local contractors while at the same time helping oil majors such as Saipem, Daewoo and O.P.I. to pick jobs running into several millions of dollars.
'The company is only favouring foreign companies when we have local investors that have built up the needed capacity to face the challenges of the Local Content Act. All their offshore projects that are supposed to be given to our local investors are being given to Saipem, Daewoo and O.P.I,' the statement read.
According to the statement, since the Local Content Act was signed into law last year, Shell had not done anything to encourage Nigerian core investors in the oil and gas industry and challenged the company to publish names of local investors they had encouraged.
'The Forcados Yokri Integrated Project could have been handled by our own local investors and Shell in its usual manner awarded it to a foreign company and if not for the efforts of NAPIMS in regulating things, by now, Shell would have frustrated local investors out of business,' it explained.
The group, however, advised Shell to start patronising qualified Nigerian contractors and stop frustrating the people of the region, adding that 'enough is enough.'