Bill Wheeler, Veronica Mba, Pat Sanders | Equatorial Guinea LNG
The New Economy interviews Equatorial Guinea LNG’s MD Bill Wheeler, Deputy MD Veronica Mba, and Commercial Director Pat SandersShow transcript
Equatorial Guinea LNG, or EG LNG, aims to be a world-class supplier of LNG to the Atlantic Basin markets. Here to discuss the company’s corporate values and CSR activities are Bill Wheeler, Veronica Mba, and Pat Sanders, from EQ LNG.
The New Economy: Bill, tell us about the company’s corporate values and how they translate into your CSR activities
Bill Wheeler: EG LNG’S corporate values are to operate safely, efficiently, and ethically, and we also want to be a good corporate citizen and a good neighbour. We also think it’s a differentiator for us, between us and other companies in EG, in the fact that we invest in the country and the people of EG. We do that through training programs, both for our employees and for other local vendors, also we do that by investing in the healthcare and educational opportunities that are available in the country. So, we’re very proud of what we do, and we think it’s a very very important part of our company’s mission.
EG LNG’S corporate values are to operate safely, efficiently, and ethically
The New Economy: What CSR activities does EG LNG undertake that has led to this recognition from The New Economy?
Bill Wheeler: Actually, corporate social responsibility is made up of two different types of activities. The first is the part that we would call, kind of a social welfare project building hospitals and doing things like that. And then the other is our local content programs, Veronica leads our corporate social welfare programs and Pat actually leads the local content programs, so I’m sure they could give you many more details about the programs.
The New Economy: Veronica, tell us more about your community achievements
Veronica Mba: Our social projects are divided by value sectors being health, education, and welfare, our primary focus. On health, we have partnered with an affiliate of John Hopkins Hospital to reduce infant mortality, in the areas we have worked, infant mortality has been reduced between 59 percent and 75 percent. We have also managed several health programs, including HIV prevention campaign, and the construction of a new clinic. On education we have constructed IT labs, and built or extended several schools ranging from village schools to orphanages. We have also built a women’s centre to provide education to single and married women. Finally, on welfare sector, we have constructed several water wells around the country and in addition we provide potable water delivery from our facility to different local communities.
We provide training on accounting, finance, IT, HR, anything that would contribute to being more successful in their business
The New Economy: Pat what challenges do local businesses face then given the fast pace of change in the country?
Pat Sanders: There are a number of challenges that local companies face, first and foremost I would say it’s a lack of familiarity with the requirements of international companies and also their processes. So, for example, they would not really be very familiar with the tender process, and the components of procurement. But also, LNG being a fairly high-tech industry means that the number of opportunities for local companies is quite limited in terms of what they can supply. There are also structural challenges faced but local companies. First of all, if you’re an entrepreneur in EG, it’s quite challenging to set up a business to get it started, there are a number of steps you have to follow. Access to finance is a challenge for local companies, in as much as, they don’t really understand the process. Then also, it’s an issue in terms of how expensive it is, rates are around about 15,16, and even up to 18 percent.
The New Economy: And so in what ways is EG LNG able to help local businesses?
Pat Sanders: Firstly, we issue a quarterly newsletter which provides information regarding forthcoming business opportunities for local companies. The other thing that we do is we provide training for local companies, we do this on a quarterly basis and it’s open to all companies within EG, all local companies. And we provide training on things like accounting, finance, IT, HR, anything that we feel that would contribute to them being more successful in their business and not just with us. We also act as an advocate for local business, and recently have worked with the government to develop a partial credit guarantee fund. And we hope that with the introduction to this program that we will reduce rates to below 10 percent.
The New Economy: Pat, Bill, Veronica, thank you
Bill, Pat, Veronica: Thank you.