By Ejiofor Alike

The House of Representatives Committee on Local Content has urged the international oil companies (IOCs) to patronise the marine support base and shipyard of the West African Ventures located at Warri in Delta State, as part of the efforts to encourage local capacity development.

Speaking at the weekend during the inspection and verification of the company’s local content capacity as part of the committee’s oversight function, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Emmanuel Okon  noted that the under-utilisation of the company’s facilities by IOCs will not encourage sustainable investment needed to build in-country capacity and boost the ability of indigenous companies to compete internationally.

In his expression of satisfaction with the standard of passenger boats, tug boats and investment in dry dock, the Chairman said that the House of Representatives would ensure a sustainable patronage of the multi-billion naira yard of the company as well as the facilities of other indigenous companies.

“I am impressed by what I am seeing here and I believe the community is impressed and from the local content perspective, I believe this is all it is about. Even though the facilities are not properly utilised the way it is supposed to, we will try our very best to get people, marketers who can market this company and give them the level of patronage that they deserve,” Okon said.

He said the lower chamber would exercise its legislative powers to ensure that the crisis in the oil and gas sector did not weigh down the business, adding that the global crisis was evidently affecting related markets and other local companies at this time.

“As a responsive legislature, we will make sure that we continue to legislate and come out with laws and legislations that will force other companies and other users of light boat like this to consider getting it from companies like WAV with huge investment  in the country to create jobs,” Okon added.

Also speaking, the Executive Director of West African Ventures Limited, Alhaji Ibrahim Sambo said the company embarked on three redundancy exercises in the last quarter to manage cost in order to meet up with dwindling revenue.

He was however optimistic about huge patronage from some government parastatals and other organisations in respect of flying boats services, border patrol and the likes, following the legislative backing to assist the company and other local companies in terms of patronage, having realized that facilities available were under – utilised.

“Loss and gains come from almighty God; no regrets whatsoever. In goodness, all you will lose and gain is in the hands of God, which is my own philosophy because if God gives you something, you will not know that you will get it but it is out of dedication and hard work. So now, we are still hoping for a bright future,” Sambo said.

WAV is a 100 per cent Nigerian company and a leading indigenous provider of offshore engineering, procurement, fabrication, installation and vessel charter services.