13 September 2011, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), the local arm of the Royal/Dutch Shell, says it has spent N10 billion in the funding of community development programmes under its Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) scheme in the Niger Delta.
Shell said in its GMoU profile available to Sweetcrudereports.com that it had so far signed and implemented agreements with 28 clusters, covering 271 communities in Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa states.
The company said: “By the end of 2010, a total of 490 projects had been implemented through GMoUs, with more than N10 billion in funding provided. Although, the concept started in Eastern Niger Delta, five clusters were inaugurated in the Western Niger Delta in 2011.”
SPDC’s Managing Director and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mutiu Sumonu expressed the view that given the immense benefits of the GMoU concept, the expectation from many quarters was that all communities in which SPDC operated would be covered by the initiative.
He said this was SPDC’s ultimate objective, but, noted that with “a scale of financing involved, it is important that the inauguration of clusters is designed with available funds. It means communities have to be patient and co-operate as efforts are made to incorporate them into clusters.”
Shell recently hosted an exhibition in Port Harcourt to showcase the achievements of different clusters. In March 2010, the Industrial Area Cluster in Rivers State launched Nigeria’s first privately subsidised community health insurance scheme using N24 million of GMoU funds provided.
The scheme is expected to cover 15,000 people from within and outside the community who pay a premium to enjoy year-round, top quality health care.
Early this year, three more clusters in Rivers and Bayelsa states have set up their own health insurance schemes and another is underway in Delta State.
Three clusters sponsored a total of 17 students on overseas undergraduate and postgraduate courses in 2009, and they are expected to complete their studies and return home next year.
Of the 28 clusters, seven have transformed into development foundations, capable of attracting funds and other forms of support from external sources.
Between 2009 and 2010, the Nembe City Development Foundation executed a total of 85 projects including a printing press, guest house, drainage systems as well as land and marine transport companies.