Oil industry steps-in to stem Coronavirus scourge, rallies round government
One of the things giving Nigerians hope amid the coronavirus pandemic is the prompt response by the Nigerian oil and gas industry which has shown commitment to dousing the impact of the disease in the country as part of its corporate social responsibility.
The oil and gas industry is one of the sectors that is experiencing a devastating effect of the disease globally. Since late last year when the outbreak of Coronavirus disease otherwise called Covid-19, attracted the attention of the world, it has been one long and unpalatable story of human miseries and death on one hand, and economic devastation on the other hand.
The death toll from the disease is in thousands, and still counting in Italy, the United States of America, the United Kingdom (UK), France and Spain. Other countries are not spared from the human gloom occasioned by the pandemic, with Nigeria, South Africa, among other African countries, having recorded deaths of their citizens.
Nigeria has been having its own share of the tragedies occasioned by the disease. For instance, there are two cases of reported deaths from the disease and about 121 confirmed cases of those that have proved positive for coronavirus.
On the economic side, the country has not been able to sell many of its crude oil cargoes because industries across the globe are down. More worrisome is the fact that the price of crude oil is now as low as $23 per barrel this week.
The pandemic’s direct impact on Nigeria’s revenue potential, according to the Atlantic Council, an American Atlanticist think tank in the field of international affairs, is that COVID-19 would cause the country to suffer the biggest loss in the continent with $15.4bn, representing about 4 percent of the nation’s GDP
This means that all the deepwater projects and other projects onshore proposed by both international oil and independent companies slated for sanctions would have to be put on hold and this is not too good for the country’s economy. That is why the collective efforts of the Nigerian Petroleum Industry to support the Federal and State governments to curtail the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in the country is most welcomed
One is therefore not surprised that the oil and gas industry has come with a helping hand to rescue Nigerians from the scourge of the disease by donating money and materials to help stem down the spread of this deadly disease. This is one of the highest level of Corporate Social Responsibility by the industry to its host community.
Led by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) the industry made a donation of about N11 billion. The joint intervention initiative will assist the government in equipping isolation centers across the country and providing ventilators, test kits, coveralls, medicines, ambulances and other essential medical supplies.
Mele Kyari, group managing director of NNPC who led the team said in recognition of the impact of Coronavirus (COVID -19) pandemic on the Nigerian population and the economy, the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry embarked on an Industry-wide collaborative initiative to support the effort to combat the pandemic and its attendant impact.
“The intervention initiative is in alignment with the on- going Federal Government’s efforts and in collaboration with the NCDC to curb the pandemic. It is aimed at supporting our national healthcare delivery facilities and covers three key thematic areas: Provision of medical consumables; Deployment of logistics and in-patient support system; and Delivery of medical infrastructure. The three thematic support initiatives amount to Usd30million (N11bilion naira) and will be delivered in phases, starting today,” Mele Kyari said.
The increasing demand for medical services, medical consumables covering testing kits, medical protective suits and ambulances to the highly impacted areas across the federation informed the intervention of the Oil Industry.
The NNPC helmsman added that as a responsive and responsible Industry, the Oil and Gas Industry is taking this action to strengthen the collective national resolve to stem the pandemic.
Aside from the industrywide coordination, the NNPC on its own has contributed some strategic and essential medical equipment which it handed over to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospitals in Gwagwalada, the Federal Capital Territory.
Other individual companies that have contributed towards arresting the scourge of the disease includes: AYM Shafa Limited, N50 million and Famfa oil and gas which also donated about N1billion.