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Ecobank Nigeria and seven other leading deposit money banks in the country, at the weekend, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited and Total Upstream Nigeria Limited on $7.5 billion Nigerian contractors’ initiative.

The seven banks include Zenith Bank, Diamond Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank for Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Access Bank and Fidelity Bank.

The initiative, which is part of efforts by Total to strengthen government’s local content policy, would also help the oil company’s contractors to access funds to finance projects in the sector.

Under the arrangement, the accredited banks would specifically finance Total’s local contractors, while there will be domiciliation of payments to the banks.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Total, Guy Maurice, said the essence of the initiative, is to bridge the funding gap for the company’s local contractors, which includes vendors and suppliers.

According to Maurice, the MOU provides for sustainable funding relationship between the selected banks and Total’s indigenous contractors, adding that the initiative is line with the Nigerian local content laws.

He expressed gratitude for the emergence of the eight banks, which scaled through the rigorous selection process, saying that the initiative will enhance local contractors’ participation in the company’s entire value chain business.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Jibril Aku, said the programme is quite laudable, affirming that Ecobank is pleased to have been selected, as one of the participating banks.

Aku explained that the banking finance programme is being put together by Total to effectively manage its value chain, including suppliers and distributors.

According to him, the whole essence is how to make the local contractors play more active role in the oil and gas sector through sustainable funding.

Aku assured that Ecobank would remain a major player, with value addition to the initiative.

He said, “this is a good initiative and we are pleased to have been selected as one of the banks after a rigorous process. We have long relationship with Total and some of our customers work with them.

“I can assure that we will add value to the programme.  The key challenge now is how to make a success of this programme, so that we can continue to develop and grow new customers for the bank,” he stated.

 

Information from The Guardian was used in this report.

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