Okon Bassey in Uyo
The federal government has unveiled the plan to build N21 billion medical infrastructure in the South-south geo-political zone as an intervention to promote public healthcare in the zone.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed the plan at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Oil and Gas Industry COVID-19 Medical Infrastructure for South-south geo-political zone in Akwa Ibom State.
The medical infrastructure will involve the construction of an Intensive Care Unit at Immanuel General Hospital, Eket Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.
The medical infrastructure was sponsored by the NNPC/MPN JV as part of the Oil and Gas industry intervention in the South-South, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the ground breaking ceremony yesterday, Mustapha explained that the intervention was in alignment with the ongoing federal government effort to curb the pandemic through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
He noted that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 covered three key thematic areas including provision of medical consumables, deployment of logistics and in-patient support system and delivery of medical infrastructure.
He said: “The total commitment to this initiative amounts to $58 million (N21 billion), out of which 53 percent of the total sum is earmarked for the construction of permanent medical infrastructure across the geopolitical zones.”
Mustapha who was represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, said the initiative was taken to support the national healthcare delivery facilities and strengthen the collective national resolve in combating COVID-19 pandemic and its dreadful impact.
According to him, in recognition of the ravaging impact of COVID -19 pandemic on the critical sectors of our national economy, the Nigeria Oil & Gas Industry under the leadership of the NNPC embarked on an industry wide collaborative intervention initiative to combat the pandemic and its attendant impact.
He noted that the participating companies would execute the project using their internal established processes in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
He said the commitments under the initiative were collected in kind and a clear and transparent governance framework that had been established for collecting and distributing the commitments across the country, in alignment with the processes and procedures of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The SGF explained that the ground-breaking had put the nation’s oil and gas industry in a good stead to bequeath a sustainable impact and legacy on the healthcare delivery system in Akwa Ibom.
He noted that NNPC and its partners under the initiative would not rest on their oars in continuing to distribute consignments of medical consumables, equipment and logistics facilities across all the states in the country.
He said work had commenced on the construction of a standard permanent infectious disease hospital in Bayelsa State, Imo State and other locations across the nation’s geopolitical zones.
“All these are over and above the regular social investments through various corporate social responsibility initiatives by NNPC and the participating Companies,” he said.
He congratulated the Akwa Ibom Government and its people for benefiting from this intervention programmes and thanked the NNPC, Exxon Mobil, Nigeria LNG and other oil companies for their thoughtfulness, commitment and support.
Also speaking, Mr Paul McGrath, Managing Director, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited lamented the devastating state of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and the entire world.
“In these trying times, the NNPC/MPN JV seeks to re-emphasise the high priority we place on health and safety as the core foundational values of our corporate culture and operations. We like to say we are in the business of managing risks, and there is no risk greater than the risk to health.
“So, we must all work collaboratively with our industry partners and other stakeholders, whom we are convinced share in this belief, in combating and, ultimately, defeating this pandemic. The task at hand calls for the sort of partnership we are witnessing here today, ” McGrath said.