*Says GMoU funds provided by oil firms inadequate
Port Harcourt — Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Seriake Dickson, is set to establish an Oil Producing Communities Development Commission to speed up gross development of oil bearing communities within the state.
Speaker, Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Monday Obolo, announced this at the inauguration of community development projects funded by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, in Oporomor Cluster Development Board.
Obolo lamented that the GMoU funds provided by SPDC for host communities was inadequate as the communities remain undeveloped, hence, the Governor had sent an executive bill seeking to establish development commission for oil producing communities in the state.
The Speaker said the bill, already has passed first hearing and would receive expedited passage by members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly.
He explained that the bill sets aside 13percent, from the 13percent derivation funds acruing to the state to be channelled to the development of oil producing communities, to compliment the corporate social responsibilities of oil firms operating in the state.
“It is my view that the development funding currently being provided by Shell under the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) is grossly inadequate compared to the level of contribution to oil output.
“Look at Southern Ijaw communities for instance, they are grossly underdeveloped.
“The environment in our communities in Southern Ijaw has been so degraded and nothing is too much for the communities. That is why Governor Seriake Dickson’s administration has taken steps to establish an Oil Producing Areas Commission to compliment the GMoU.”
Also, SPDC General Manager, External Relations, Mr Igo Weli, disclosed that about 60 development projects have been completed for the Oporomor cluster at N737.4million for 2019.
Represented by SPDC External Relations Manager, West Asset, Mr Evans Krukrubo, Weli explained that these 60 projects cut across infrastructure, economic empowerment transportation intervention and scholarships.
“The handover of these completed projects highlights the support SPDC gives to people in our areas of operation when there is a conducive environment for interaction and when we all take up the opportunities available to engage on matters that affect all of us.
“We encourage other communities to emulate the Oporomor GMoU Cluster and devise a peaceful and progressive schemes to develop our communities.”
Chairman, Oporomor Cluster Development Board , Ebipremene Feboke, said the GMoU process ensures transparency and accountability, as opposed to previous models where oil firms decide on projects and even awards contracts, without input from the people.
He commended SPDC for adopting the GMoU model for development of its host communities, adding that it gave room for involvement of the host communities in the selection and implementation of projects.