Shell companies in Nigeria have over the years shown atypical commitment to the growth and development of Nigerian economy as well as the Nigerian people.

Over the decades, Shell through its various social investment programme continued to stimulate economic growth and improved quality of life for Nigerian people.

In its 2020 Nigerian Briefing Notes, Shell disclosed that its social investment in Nigeria in 2019 stood at $40 million. It stated that the investments were done through its three subsidiaries – Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO), and Shell Nigeria Gas (SNG).

According to the multination oil and gas company, this makes Nigeria the largest concentration of social investment spending in the Shell Group. It stated that the investments were channeled in the provision of access to affordable healthcare, supporting education, enterprise support, accelerating access to energy, assistance and safety.

Shell further explained that while $40 million went into direct social investment in 2019, it equally invested $252 million into community-driven programmes with 667,000 people benefiting from its mobile health outreach. It also disclosed that it has given out 6,000 university grants since 2011.

According to Shell, Nigeria is a thriving and vibrant country, offering opportunities for people to improve their livelihoods, adding that the scale of the opportunity was mirrored by the scale of the challenges to provide affordable energy, education, healthcare and conditions for local businesses to grow.

The multinational company hinted that it undertake two types of social investment activities – direct social investment across Nigeria. This, it said focuses on community and enterprise development, education, community health, access-to-energy, road safety and since 2018, biodiversity.

The second type of Shell’s investment is the community-driven development programmes and initiatives in the Niger Delta. In this, the choice and type are determined by benefitting communities and delivered through a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).

Active GMoUs

There are 39 active GMoUs in Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers States. “In 2019, three new GMoUs were deployed and 10 GMOUs renewed. The GMoUs provide a secure five-year funding for communities to implement development projects of their choice.

“GMoU projects cover community health, education, enterprise development and social infrastructure, such as improved water and power supply, and sanitation. Since 2006, a total of $252 million has been disbursed to communities through these GMoUs.”

Healthcare Support

For Shell, affordable quality healthcare is a critical enabler to any community. It improves health indicators and outcomes, strengthens families, educational attainment and business opportunities, it reiterated.

Inauguration of the first phase of the Oloibiri Health Programme

“Shell has supported community health programmes in Nigeria since the 1980s with equipment and pharmaceutical donations, emergency care and screening services, hospital maintenance and focused interventions on HIV/AIDS, malaria, cancer and vision care.

“Shell continues to work with key stakeholders to achieve universal health coverage by increasing access to health and the uptake of services in the communities.

The SPDC JV and SNEPCo support 20 healthcare centres and signature intervention projects throughout the country. They include: Health-In-Motion community care programme, Community Health Insurance Scheme, and Oloibiri Health Programme (OHP)

Health-in-Motion (HIM) is a mobile health outreach programme that takes free medical services to where people live and work. Funded by the SPDC JV and SNEPCo, it reaches an average of 50 communities annually.

 “In 2019, HIM services benefitted 27,490 individuals in Imo, Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers and Ogun States. Since its launch in 2010, more than 667,000people have benefitted from the programme”

Community Health Insurance Scheme

The Community Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS) is a partnership between SPDC, Rivers State Government and local communities. The programme aims to provide affordable, quality healthcare to the people of Rivers State.

Launched in 2010 at Obio Cottage Hospital, CHIS costs individuals $30 per year and covers about 95% of people’s health care needs. Since 2010, more than 67,000 people have been enrolled.

“In 2019, nearly 8,500 new clients registered. The hospital has also seen an increase in the uptake of services. For example, the average number of patients using the facility increased from about 600 at inception to about 7,700 per month in 2019, making Obio one of the most utilised health facilities in the region.

This successful pilot has now been expanded to three other locations, highlighting the possibility for extended healthcare coverage in Nigeria.

Oloibiri Health Programme (OHP)

“The Oloibiri Health Programme is a Shell-sponsored local government initiative in the Ogbia area of Bayelsa State. It is designed to improve health outcomes in an innovative and holistic way. The initiative included a full refurbishment of the Kolo General Hospital, which was inaugurated in July 2019.

“The programme has seen a five-fold increase in service utilisation to 4,210 patients in 2019 from an average 833 patients in 2017. It has also provided training for over 130 health workers at community, local and state government levels. In addition to this, it has trained 117 volunteers as facility-based extension workers in house-to-house healthcare.

“To anchor the sustainability of the OHP, the initiative aims to establish the Oloibiri Health Foundation that will institute the Ogbia Health Insurance Scheme akin to the scheme in place at the Obio Cottage Hospital.

“The scheme will be launched with a one-time contribution from Shell and the Bayelsa State Government.”

Support in Education

Reiterating the key role of education in the overall development of Nigeria, Shell said, “Educating Nigeria’s young population is critical to the success of the country. Shell Companies in Nigeria have along history of supporting education through scholarships and other initiatives.

“Since the 1950s, the Shell scholarship schemes have supported several thousands of students many of whom are among Nigeria’s business, political and social leaders.

“In 2019, the SPDC JV and SNEPCo invested $7.8 million in scholarships. Since 2011, the schemes have awarded more than 9,400 secondary school grants and over6,000 university grants to students.

Industrial Work Experience Programme.

The Shell Niger Delta Post Graduate scholarship programme was established to promote the emergence of industry-ready graduates at university level. It offers one-year scholarships to three UK universities for studies related to the oil and gas industry.

 This is in addition to Shell’s investments in specific initiatives at Nigerian universities such as the SPDC JV funding of Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Geosciences and Petroleum Engineering. It has also collaborated with the Rivers State University to set up a CoE, which specialises in Marine and Offshore Engineering.

“The CoEs offer specialized post-graduate degrees in Geosciences, Petroleum Engineering and Marine and Offshore Engineering respectively. Each programme lasts for 18 months and culminates in a six-month internship with an oil and gas company, some within Shell.

“By the end of 2019, over75 students had graduated from the programmes and over 81% of these graduates are currently employed, the report revealed.

Enterprise Support

In the area of Enterprise support, the multinational oil and gas company said: “Shell works to improve the chances for Nigerians to achieve their ambitions. In addition to providing access to loans to small and medium businesses which could become Shell suppliers and contractors, there is also the LiveWIRE youth enterprise development programme.

“LiveWIRE was launched in Nigeria in 2003 and provides training and finance to young people between the ages of 18-35 to start or expand their own businesses.

“In 2019, 140 people benefitted from the LiveWIRE programme, receiving training in enterprise development and management, as well as business start-up grants. More than 7,000 Nigerian youths have so far been trained under the programme and almost 4,000 young entrepreneurs were provided with business grants

Assistance and Safety

In humanitarian assistance, it stated that “for many years, Shell has sustained a culture of care by supporting humanitarian programmes in Nigeria to save lives, especially during crisis and disaster. In 2017, a contribution of more than $3 million to the

“Mercy Corps and Family Health International programme benefitted over 70,000 displaced persons in north eastern Nigeria. Then in 2018, SPDC provided relief materials worth $1 million to communities hit by floods in the Niger Delta and two other severely impacted states in the country.

In road safety and firefighting, it said “in 2019, SNG continued to demonstrate its commitment to road safety in Nigeria by extending existing collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps in Ogun State to Rivers State.

“The campaign has held 26 road safety awareness events and reached more than 5,000 people since its launch in 2007.

“SNG also held a one-day hydrocarbon training for firefighters from Abia and Ogun States to further strengthen their capability.”

Humanitarian Relief in the North East

Since 2018, SPDC and SNEPCo have committed $6 million to the government-driven strategic intervention projects for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Yobe and Borno States.

The projects it said focus on immediate relief and critical support development related to health, water and sanitation, education and shelter.

“By the end of 2019, the SPDC JV and SNEPCo completed the distribution of food, essential hygiene kits and other relief items to over 5,500 vulnerable households in IDP camps and impacted communities.

“SPDC also commenced project work on school reconstruction, and teacher training, upgrading of a Primary Health Care Centre and water and toilet facilities in Yobe State.”

Accelerating Access to Energy

According to Shell, enterprise development, opportunities for education and access to affordable healthcare hinge upon being able to have reliable and cost-effective energy.

It however, noted that despite Nigeria’s oil and gas resources, the country has one of the highest levels of energy poverty in the world.

As result, Shell hinted that it targets to provide a reliable electricity supply to 100 million people, primarily in Africa and Asia by 2030. Nigeria features in that vision.

 “In addition to investing in Nigeria’s gas development and distribution network, Shell has established All On to boost off-grid supply to homes and small businesses in the Niger Delta.

“All On, an impact investing company, became operational in 2017 and is an independent Nigerian company that works with partners to increase access to commercial energy products and services. In December 2019, Shell made a significant additional long-term financing commitment to All On.

“Nigerians deserve more reliable energy. Positive change is coming. Already, All On has invested in 21 off-grid energy companies and two funds, leading to 21,000 new connections for low income households and businesses. The journey is just beginning,” the report stated.

By Peace Obi

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