As Nigeria’s leading independent oil and natural gas company, we work hard to ensure our business grows and develops with wider economic and social considerations at the forefront of everything we do. We understand that alongside this, we are tasked with conducting our business both responsibly and efficiently, whilst continuing to respect our local communities and wider stakeholders in Nigeria as a whole.
Sustainability is at the heart of our business and while we strive to contribute to all of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through our responsible and inclusive approach to doing business, we are most aligned with SDGs 1 (No Poverty), 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 4 (Quality Education) and 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy).
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, is rapidly advancing - driven by a young, dynamic and urbanised population of over 186 million people. It is widely acknowledged that the major obstacle facing the country is poor infrastructure, especially relating to power, which the government aims to address through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). The Plan is targeting a 5% annual economic growth rate by 2020 and much of its success is dependent on bridging this infrastructure gap. Currently only 57% of Nigerians have access to on-the grid power and blackouts are commonplace.
The need for reliable, affordable power is a vital step to achieve accelerated economic growth in Nigeria and we are working hard to support its delivery. Seplat is the leading supplier of natural gas to the domestic market and with the prolific natural gas reserves in Nigeria, we are harnessing this opportunity to meet growing demand and address the current power supply deficit. We see our involvement as contributing to a ‘multiplier effect’, addressing wider power issues in order to boost other sectors of the national economy. In turn this will lead to higher employment rates, increased industrial and agricultural output and reduced imports –leading to greater spending power and higher standards of living.
We are immensely proud of our identity as a truly indigenous Nigerian company and alongside supporting the wider economy, we understand our responsibility to ensure we have a positive social and economic impact through direct employment opportunities as well as our community investment programmes. We understand the importance of listening to and working in partnership with our communities to build strong relationships given the sometimes-challenging operating conditions in the Niger Delta.
These initiatives are built around a two-way dialogue that we consistently maintain with our local stakeholders, aiming to listen to and act on specific community needs. We are proud of our ‘Eye Can See’ programme which was first launched in 2012 and is now in its seventh year. To date over 57,000 people have benefitted from the programme which brings comprehensive eye care to the local community including eye checks, prescription glasses and the removal of cataracts. We have been able to dispense over 26,000 reading glasses and have successfully performed 2,725 surgeries since 2012 to local communities.
We have also continued Our ‘Safe Motherhood’ programme which we started in 2011 to promote the safety and well-being of expectant mothers during pregnancy. Through education and awareness programmes, we have been able to help over 6,500 women in our host communities. In addition, we have provided antenatal screening, mosquito nets, nutritional supplements and ‘Safe Motherhood’ delivery bags to improve child survival rates in a country which has the third highest infant mortality rate in the world. Between 2011 and 2017 we have screened over 13,000 women and vaccinated 1,500 children and we have renovated a ward at the Central Hospital in Sapele.
Business can have a transformational impact within local markets as long as it always strives to be part of the solution rather than being part of the problem. Seplat is proud to be delivering positive change to its stakeholders among its local communities but also across the country as its natural gas continues to play a key role in improving energy access rates across Nigeria.