Ejiofor Alike and Segun James in Yenagoa
The Federal Government has restated its commitment to the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act in the oil and gas industry aassuring the country’s international partners that the Act has come to stay.
Speaking yesterday at the ongoing Nigerian Content Workshop in Yenegoa, the Bayelsa State Capital, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said the country must keep faith with the programme.
She stated that other prosperous nations adopted one form of industrialisation or development policy and succeeded because they kept faith with the shared vision and sustained the programme for long periods.
The minister also stated that the implementation of the Act was transparent and predicable and would not be subject to policy sommersaults.
“Government is committed to this programme and would continue to encourage our partners in the private sector and international community to support the implementation, which is not an effort to drive foreigners out of the industry but a requirement to develop genuine partnerships between local and foreign companies,” she said.
The minister disclosed that the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) would soon be inaugurated.
She was optimistic that the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) would use the fund to create the much desired enhancement of local capacity and access to single digit interest rate.
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andy Yakubu, said the participation of Nigerian companies in the upstream segment of the oil and gas business had increased from 10 per cent before the enactment of the Act to about 30 per cent.
“These percentages are even higher and in some cases have attained 100 per cent, for example the Utorogu Gas Plant Expansion Project,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr. Ernest Nwapa noted that the Nigerian Content Act was yielding results.
According to him, Nigerians have started getting a foothold in the oil and gas industry, owning marine assets, fabrication yards and other hi-tech assets used in the industry.