Port Harcourt — Akwa Ibom State Government has urged oil and gas firms operating in the state, to extend their corporate social responsibility projects and programmes, to other parts of the state, beyond their immediate host communities.
Also, the state government has urged oil companies to ensure women are reached out and carried along in their corporate social responsibility projects.
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, Dr. John James Etim, spoke at the community empowerment programme, organised by an indigenous oil firm, Moni Pulo Petroleum Development Limited.
Etim urged oil firms to developed a sustainable plan pf employing indigenes of the host communities into managerial and directorate levels, especially women.
“It is my hope that all oil and gas companies will consider other parts of Akwa Ibom State in their corporate social responsibility projects and not just their immediate host communities, because we are one and Akwa Ibom State is one.
“Companies should also reach out and touch women in their efforts to their corporate social responsibilities.
“The state government has a policy that all oil companies reserved at least 10percent of their developmental programmes tp communities outside their immediate host communities and catchment areas.
“Companies should empower members of the host communities with skills that are relevant in the industry in order to integrate them in the petroleum sector and make them square pegs in square holes; to give them a sense of belonging.”
The Commissioner also said all community oil and gas development committees, must ensure that the ministry is informed of their activities.
He urged host communities in the state to continue to provide a peaceful business environment to all firms operating in the state.
“Host communities should continue to remain a good host to oil firms by providing a peaceful environment, as it is our tradition in Akwa Ibom that we do not joke with our guests.
“Members of the community should also developed themselves so that when employment opportunities come, they can fit into the roles.”