Shell, supported by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, has signed Memoranda of Understanding with eight local banks under the refreshed Shell Contractors’ Support Fund.
The oil major, in a statement on Sunday, described the development as the latest milestone in efforts to improve access to finance for Nigerian vendors and suppliers in the oil and gas industry.
It said under the MoUs signed in Lagos, Access Bank, Skye Bank, Zenith Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, First Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, First City Monument Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank had set aside $2.2bn for contract execution by Nigerian firms.
According to the statement, the scheme provides support for contractors to enable them finance projects executed for Shell Companies in Nigeria in line with the aspirations of the Nigerian Content Act.
It said to access the fund, the contractors must have valid purchase orders and meet the banks’ risk assessment criteria, adding that the refreshed version was in response to market realities and would offer loans faster and at cheaper rates.
“Supporting SMEs under this scheme is for the mutual benefit of all the parties,” the Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, said at the signing ceremony in Lagos.
“While the scheme reduces the pressure from requests for advance payments from contractors on us, it also ensures optimum delivery by our contractors, leaving the banks with a de-risked client base in addition to the comfort of domiciliation of payments,” he added.
The Finance Manager, Nigeria and Gabon, Shell, Guy Janssens, stated that funding was key to enable contractors to deliver and grow, urging the banks to make the scheme work.
The Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, Bayo Ojulari, advised the contractors to perform in order build trust and grow.
On his part, the Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, Dafe Sejebo, implored the banks to make the loan facilities available to the vendors whenever they come for them.