19 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – Elano Investments Limited, managers of the 7.5 percent equity owned by host communities in Rivers State in Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited, has urged oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region to look beyond entitlement mentality, but focus on opening doors for investment opportunities in their communities.
Chairman, Board of Directors of Elano Investments Limited, Chief Gomba Okanje, said there was very little oil companies or any other corporate concern could do to lift the living condition in their host communities, given that they are in business to make profit, hence can only share out from their profits and not their operating capital.
Okanje, speaking at the 2017 Stakeholders Maritime Summit, organised by the Maritime Energy Media Practitioners of Nigeria, MEMPON, in Port Harcourt, stated that apart from investing directly in the companies that operate in their land, host communities have a wide array of areas they can take advantage and boost the local economies.
The Elano boss said host communities, as corporate concerns, can incorporate companies, business names, co-operative societies, trusteeship, and limited liability companies, which will bid for jobs, contacts from the multinationals and invest in the numerous opportunities that abound around them.
He said host communities should take due advantage of the opportunities that the oil industry has brought to their doorsteps by investing in the companies and providing services to the population that has been attracted to their communities by the industry.
According to him, “It is a well known fact that primary goods like crude oil, agriculture produce and mining do not earn as much revenue as secondary and manufactured goods and services. Countries like Japan have no mineral resources, but is the third largest economy in the world, surpassing top oil producing countries like Saudi Arabia because of their proficiency in converting primary goods to secondary goods.
“Oil producing communities are already blessed with companies that produce oil and petrochemical products. Government might have appropriated the ownership and exploitation of crude oil to itself, but it has not stopped anyone from taking from the products of crude oil and converting them to profitable products.
“From refined petroleum and petrochemical products, people can make tyres, oils of different kinds, plastics, furniture, clothing, further chemicals and automobile parts. Host communities can invest in other areas outside oil, such as real estate, recreation, transportation etc, and earn incomes better that what people working directly in the companies earn.”
Okanje, represented by the Public Relations Officer of Elano Investment Limited, Mr. Udeme Obot, explained that the demand, over the years, by host communities for job opportunities and social responsibility from companies has not resolved the issues of living conditions in oil communities, but rather aggravated the situations throwing the communities into crisis and infighting, which have further lowered the standard of living in the communities.