The Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Osagie Okunbor, has pledged to work with officials of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to reconcile the statutory financial contributions of the oil company to the Commission.
Okunbor made the promise when a delegation from the NDDC, led by the Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, paid him a courtesy visit at the Shell Industrial Area in Port Harcourt. The NDDC team included the Executive Director Finance and Administration, Maj-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (Rtd), the Executive Director, Projects, Mr. Charles Ogunmola and other directors.
The Shell Country Chair said that despite funding challenges, the oil firm had tried to ensure that its financial contributions to NDDC were paid on time, assuring that they would continue to keep up the practice.
He stated: “NDDC is an important interventionist agency and we look forward to providing all the support we can towards the execution of your mandate.
“It is in Shell’s interest that NDDC succeeds. You make our work easier when you succeed in achieving your mandate. On the issue of statutory contributions to NDDC, we are willing to reconcile the figures.”
He remarked that the NDDC and SPDC have enjoyed a longstanding relationship, noting: ” We are symbiotically connected. Apart from being there at the beginning, our business will be incomplete without the NDDC. We have collaborated actively in the past.
‘We have partnered with the NDDC severally in the past and look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with the current Board. The Nembe – Ogbia road is one of such partnerships that readily comes to mind.”
In his remarks, the NDDC Chief Executive Officer underlined the need for SPDC to reconcile its contributions to the Commission. He stated:“When we assumed office, we met a situation where your contributions to NDDC were being collected by the EFCC. Recently, they wrote to us, stating details of how much they have received so far. We needed to reconcile those collections because we don’t have records of the contributions.”
Ogbuku acknowledged the cordial relationship existing between SPDC and NDDC, and prayed for more fruitful partnerships in the future.
He said that the successful completion of the 29-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State was a good example of the partnership between SPDC and NDDC. “We are looking forward to more fruitful partnerships with Shell,” he said.
The NDDC boss observed that there was a trust deficit between the Commission and the International Oil Companies, IOC’s, over time, which gave the companies the impression that their contributions were not being well utilized.
He promised that, going forward, the NDDC was going to work with stakeholders, particularly members of the Oil Producers Trade Section, OPTS, in its budget processes.
Ogbuku said that the NDDC Board was focused on building Public, Private Partnerships, PPP, with stakeholders to facilitate sustainable development. He observed: “We have come in with a new vigour. We are thinking out of the box to change the narrative in the Niger Delta region. One thing we want to do is to encourage our young entrepreneurs in the Niger Delta region and to expose them to the world.
“We have set up a PPP committee to help us source for other areas of funding for the NDDC. We are thinking out of the box. Our intervention does not end with building roads and bridges. We need to empower young entrepreneurs in the Niger Delta region. We need to have a database for young entrepreneurs.”