Mkpoikana Udoma 15 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – Elano Investments Limited, managers of the 7.5percent equity for Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited, IEPL, host communities in Rivers State, 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.
Stop entitlement mentality, Elano urges oil producing communities
Chairman Board of Directors of Elano Investments Limited, Chief Gomba Okanje, said there is very little that oil companies or any corporate concern can do to lift the living condition of its host communities, given that they are in business to make profit, hence can only share out their profit and not from their operating capital.
Okanje speaking on second day of the 2017 Stakeholders Maritme Summit organized by the Maritime Energy Media Practioners 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, cooperative 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.
“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.
Obot, speaking on topic ‘Enhancing the Standard of Living of Oil Producing Communities’ said, oil producing communities can follow the path that Elano Investment Limited took several years ago that has led to a marked improvement in the standard of living in IEPL host communities.
He said host communities of IEPL are developing their communities by themselves from the dividends from investment in the company and still have something left to share at the end of each accounting year.
“From the dividends paid to the communities, Elano has so far constructed at least 15km of solid asphalted roads with drains and culverts; provided free health insurance cover for more than 1000 families, trained 52youths in high demand skills, and sponsored 11 students on scholarship to pursue Masters degree in the United Kingdom, as well as help to firm up security in the communities and expanded frontiers for investments in real estate and agriculture.
“The whole lesson of Elano Investment Limited is to move away from where the communities are mere lapdogs waiting for crumbs to fall for them from the companies to a situation where they can also own the oil companies and partake in the juicy profits of the companies.
“However, this does not come easy; just like Elano invested huge resources to buy into the shares of IEPL, oil producing communities can explore opportunities to be part owners of the companies that operate on their land. It is possible; all we need do is to look beyond the entitlement mentality and open door of investment opportunity.”
He also advised host communities to develop certain etiquettes to succeed, such as ability to separate private sentiments from corporate goals, must learn to work with institutions, adopt accountability, ability to build trust, develop transparent business ethics, set out business targets and plans amongst others