The Niger Delta is a major oil producing area, exporting 40% of the oil produced in its 606 oilfields to the United States, making it the third largest source of oil imports for the USA. Oil amounts to 80% of Nigeria's export earnings and makes up around 70% of government income. A whole host of companies operate in Nigeria, the same recognisable names of the world's major oil multinationals amongst them. But one stands out in particular: Shell.
The Con-Dem coalition government has started to roll out its austerity package and introduce cuts worth £83bn over the next four years, which will hit the poorest hardest and open doors for big business to reap the benefits. But people are fighting back. Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed extraordinary and inspiring protests across the UK. Many of these have had an anti-corporate focus, targeting big businesses that are eager to profit from the cuts and have the government’s ear in policy formation. Here is some information on some of them.
Vodafone has borne the brunt of public anger over government public sector and welfare cuts in the past fortnight. The company has been involved in a long-running legal battle with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which accused the company of breaking tax regulations when it used a Luxembourg company, Vodafone Investments Luxembourg (VIL), to dispose of its shares in Mannesman. The regulations seek to ensure that UK companies with subsidiaries in 'tax havens' pay at no less than the UK tax rate.