Yinson Production West Africa Limited (YPWAL), Oil and Marine Agencies Ghana Limited (OMA) Group have handed over a US$1.2million auditorium to the Nkroful Agricultural Senior High School at Nkroful in the Ellembelle district of the Western Region.
The auditorium, known as ‘Yinson Hall’, has an over-1,000 seating capacity that can also be used for conferences and other social activities within the catchment area.
Madam Esther Armah-Viddah, Headmistress of the school, at the handing over of the facility said every institution needs to be resourced in order to develop and perform effectively.
She explained that student intake in recent years has been over 1000, and this has put pressure on a lot of facilities at the school – especially the assembly hall, which is used as a dining hall and for church services among others.
“Because of this challenge, I made an appeal to the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Emmanuel Armah Kofi-Buah who promised to assist the school to get a befitting auditorium; through his assistance and lobbying, he informed the school that Yinson was ready to support the school in this direction, and in September 2016, there was a sod-cutting ceremony to commence the project,” she further explained.
She expressed gratitude to the MP, who is a past-student of the school, for supporting his alma mater in a number of projects as well as Yinson and OMA.
However, she appealed to old students as well as companies operating in the district to assist the school to acquire 300 pieces of mono-desks, 30 tables for teachers at the school, places of convenience, a modern school library, home economics block as well as a 12-unit classroom block to accommodate the ever-increasing population of the school because of Free SHS.
Mr. Ari Lehtonen, Country Manager of Yinson, said the company has built up an enviable local content story in the oil and gas industry of Ghana. “This has been possible because management of Yinson believes that local content is best practice beyond mere legal requirements, and as result started building local capacity right from the inception of the project in the country. Consequently, the OMA/Yinson partnership currently presents one of the strongest local content stories in the industry today,” he said.
He also said the companies believe in improving the communities in which they operate: “We attach the same level of importance to our social performance as we do to our core business.
“Our principles with the host communities include maintaining a cordial and mutually beneficial relationship with their leaders and people by contributing to their development through value adding programmes, projects and scholarships, as well as empowering indigenes of our host communities through employment and training programmes among others,” he said.
He added that: “We have provided this assembly hall as a gift to the Ellembelle community with the objective that it will be used as one of the biggest education and recreational centres for all the communities in the oil and gas enclave in this part of the Western Region. We chose Nkroful because we believe in giving back to the areas where we get our resources”.
Mr. Egbert Faibille Jnr, Acting Chief Executive of the Petroleum Commission, said the Commission has taken a special interest in community engagement activities as well as social mitigation programmes of the various operators.
He said the Commission has developed Community Engagement Guidelines which will serve as a blueprint that provides guidance on how Social Development Projects and Programmes ought to be undertaken.
He said the Commission is mandated to regulate, manage and coordinate all activities in the upstream petroleum industry for the overall benefit and welfare of Ghanaians.
“This, among others things, is to ensure that we monitor activities of operators, licencees and contractors to ensure that best value for money is achieved for every dollar spent; we must be seen as being accountable to the people whose resources are entrusted in our hands, so that posterity will judge as well,” he added
Mr. Kwesi Bozoh, the District Chief Executive of Ellembelle district, called for a maintenance culture of the facility. “Maintain the facility to the highest of standards, so that it will continue to be magnificent.”
He advised students of the school not to write on the auditorium’s walls or litter around the premises, as well as encouraging them to take their studies seriously so as to excel in their academic performance.
“In the supreme interest of the district’s people, the DCE and MP – who is in the opposition, have vowed to work together to bring unity and peace, as well as improve upon the people’s socio-economic development,” he added.
Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi-Buah, MP for Ellembelle district said: “I am here to make an impact in the local communities; many interventions have happened from the oil and gas companies operating in the area”.
He expressed hope that the facility will bring fundamental change in the people’s lives at Nkroful. “Nkroful is a historical place; we need to do more to attract a lot of people here.”
He urged all companies operating in the area to support the school, as well as help in addressing the its challenges.