Local Content: House Committee Commends Saipem, Sanctions Korean Firm


Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

The House of Representatives Committee on Local Content has declared Saipem Construction Nigeria Limited a success story in the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act.

This came as the committee slammed Hyundai Heavy Duty Industries (HHI) and Samsung for failure to implement the provisions of the Act.

Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt tuesday after an oversight visit to Saipem to assess the local content compliance of Egina Deep Sea Project being executed by the company for Total E & P Nigeria, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Local Content, Hon. Emmanuel Ekon, said the committee was impressed that Nigerians were fully involved in the execution of the project.

His words: “I think our expression today is wao! This is because what we are seeing here is unbelievable, this is massive. The level of fabrication work we saw at the fabrication workshop is unbelievable.

“We have gone to LADOL-Samsung yards. What we saw there was just an off-shoot of what is going on here. What we saw here is nothing compared to what we saw in Lagos. But my biggest joy today is that comparing both LADOL-Samsung Yard and what we saw here at Saipem is that if it were to be Ladol-Samsung Yard, you would have seen more than 100 Koreans and Filipinos working.

“But going through this yard, going through this workshop, with the massive very highly technical fabrication that is done here, we hardly saw five foreigners working there. That is impressive and I am very happy and I believe committee members here are very impressed with what Saipem is doing.

“This goes to prove to the whole world that these things can be done here. The idea of multinationals or service companies coming to tell us that some of these things cannot be done here does not even arise. Everybody is convinced with what Nigerians are doing here.

“This is massive. This is very appreciable by the committee. I lack better words to explain what Saipem is doing in Nigeria. But I want to commend them. This is another success story of the Local Content Act.”
He said the committee decided to embark on the facility tour to have first-hand information of what is going on around the different fabrication yards, servicing companies around Nigeria.
Ekon said the committee had visited Samsung yard three weeks ago.

“What we saw there was a complete departure from what you are seeing here today,” lamented.
He said: “The Local Content Committee three weeks ago frowned at the attitude of Samsung in bringing over a hundred welders and fitters that we have in abundance here. That is a complete violation of Section 53 of the Local Content Act. The essence of our touring these facilities is to see where these companies have violated our law and then try to enforce those companies to comply with our laws.”

Ekon said the House of Representatives would not spare any multinational or servicing company that violates the local content act, saying the House had already taken steps against identified companies.

He recalled: “We started engaging Hyundai Heavy Duty Industries (HHI). We found out that HHI violated the law by bringing in expatriates without valid papers. How they came into the country we do not know. And these are people that are coming in to take jobs who are meant for Nigerians. What we did was to invite the Immigration Services into HHI. They started their investigation that lasted about a month. At the end of it all, HHI was found guilty. As I am talking to you now, the managing director was deported last week Thursday; the country representative was deported and another officer was deported for 10 years. That means they cannot come into this country for the next 10 years.

“Now we have about 31 more that are working in Chevron Excravos still HHI expatriates. They are under investigation right now; their passports have been seized and by Tuesday next week, Immigration Services will also come out with result of their investigation. If they are found guilty, all of them will go the same way.

“So, my advice to multinationals and service companies working in Nigeria is that we have a new Sheriff in Town and things just have to be done the right way. We are not here to with-hunt any company. We want them to come to Nigeria to do business; we appreciate their investments (especially look at what Saipem has done, we appreciate the level of investment Samsung brought into the country; the training, manpower development, the technology transfer. But in doing all these it is not a licence for them to come in here and violate our laws.”

Also addressing journalists, the Managing Director of Saipem, Mr. Guido D’Aloisio, said the visit had afforded the House Committee to see that his firm had been complying with the relevant laws.

He said: “We are very humble to say that Saipem is proud of these achievements in Nigeria. Again, this is an example of our Nigerian project made and executed by Nigerians. We have a lot of technology here which has now become the property of the Nigerian group in Saipem here. We are setting up a first class yard, exporting from Nigeria some of our technology like in the area of safety and we were discussing our first class training course in working in confined space. All these are our commitment in Nigeria.

“It is not by chance that we have been here for 50 years and consistently trying to grow with Nigerians in Nigeria. We are for sure in the right path of growth with Nigerians in Nigeria.”

He said Saipem had been working with Nigerians even before the Local Content Act was passed.
“For us the Nigerian Act was not something new or something which changed our lives. We started working with Nigerians well before the Act became law,” he said.