Total, Fortis Bank sign MoU to boost Enterprise Development
Following its recent arrangement with the Egi People’s Assembly (EPA), Egi Development Agency (EDA) and the Small and Medium Enterprise-Development Network (SME-DN) to fast-track the growth of entrepreneurship in OML 58 communities, Total E&P Nigeria Limited on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Fortis Microfinance Bank to facilitate, manage and provide loans to eligible and qualified entrepreneurs in its host communities.
The objectives of the MoU are:
- Provide financial assistance to eligible and qualified small and medium scale entrepreneurs in OML 58 host communities.
- Provide credit for small start-ups and viable small and medium businesses belonging to qualified and eligible members of the designated host communities.
- Economically empower and create employment for qualified and eligible entrepreneurs in the designated host communities.
“This partnership with Fortis Bank is to boost enterprise development in our host communities in line with Total’s core corporate social responsibility objective of promoting economic development in the local communities hosting our operations,” Mr. Nicolas Brunet, Deputy Managing Director (DMD), Port Harcourt District, stated in his welcome remarks at the signing ceremony.
Mr. Brunet, who led the Total delegation to the signing at Building 21 of the Port Harcourt District’s office, said that the Company had trained youths and women from its host communities to acquire skills and competences in trades of their choice.
“These efforts have created a large pool of trained manpower, some of whom have shown commitments to their trades and now desire to expand their businesses, increase their profitability and create jobs in the local economy,” the DMD said.
The DMD expressed confidence that with the joint efforts (Total and Fortis), they would succeed in supporting the expansion of businesses and job creation in the economy of OML 58 communities.
“I am very confident that we shall succeed together in supporting the expansion of businesses and job creation in the local economies of OML 58 communities through this effort. Actually we have identified 43 projects, which could create more than 330 new jobs in agriculture, industry and services,” the DMD added.
Thanking the Total management for the confidence reposed in the bank, the Chairman of Fortis Microfinance Bank, Mr. Felix Achibiri, stated that the bank was happy to partner with Total in bringing development to its host communities.
Mr. Achibiri disclosed that Fortis Bank is the first microfinance bank in Nigeria operating in 17 states of the federation with the intention to introduce its wallet platform and ATM machines in Egi Land, to ease business transactions and boost access to funds for business expansion.
He commended Total for its positive insight in the development of members of its host communities, especially the youths who are the active members of the society through job creation.
“What Total is doing has become a reference point for other international oil companies in the Niger Delta region, as it has gone a long way in not only curbing youth restiveness but boosting businesses and creating jobs,” he added.
The businesses that qualify for the two-year credit facility (with a four per cent interest rate per month) are:
- Agricultural Development (Poultry, fish and snail farming)
- Production and Industry (Bottled water production, production of animal feeds, bakery, metal fabrication and welding, sawmill, cassava processing)
- Service (Hair dressing/barbing salons).