House of Reps to Extend Local Content Act to Power, Construction in 2017


Ejiofor Alike
The members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Local Content have restated that the lower chamber would pass the bill extending the Nigerian Content Act to other key sectors of the economy before the end of 2017, so that Nigerians will enjoy the benefits.

The committee has also commended the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for its diligent implementation of the Nigerian Content Act and speedy execution of its headquarters building project and the Polaku Pipemill project

Speaking when the committee members embarked on a recent oversight visit to the NCDMB’s premises and project sites in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Emmanuel Ekon listed sectors to be covered by the extension to include power, construction, information communication technology and telecommunication

According to him, “the first reading has been passed and we are fine tuning it”.
“I believe the bill will be passed this year,” he added.
Ekon, who commended the NCDMB for its diligent implementation of the Nigerian Content Act and speedy execution of its headquarters building project and the Polaku pipemill project, enumerated the requirements for citing such a pipe mill facility, including proximity to natural gas needed to generate electricity for the plant’s operations, access to road and river for transporting raw materials and finished products.

Speaking at the Polaku pipemill site, Ekon dismissed insinuations that the Board was acting beyond its mandate in promoting the pipemill, insisting that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act empowered the Board to woo investors and prepare locations, especially difficult terrains so that prospective investors would be convinced to commit their funds.
Ekon also lauded the Board and its main contractor, MegaStar, for the speedy execution of the building project.

“I was here when this land was acquired in 2015. Then this place was bare ground. It is not even up to two years and 8 floors are already standing. We need to sell construction companies like this because it is 100 per cent indigenous. This company has invested resources in machines, personnel and construction equipment. Nigerians, multinationals and the federal government should patronise these kinds of companies,” Ekon explained.

In his welcome speech, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote explained that the Board’s mandate is hinged on promoting, monitoring and evaluating Nigerian Content compliance in the oil and gas industry and serving as a catalyst to attract and drive needed investments, so as to grow the economy and create jobs.

He restated the Board’s preparedness to assist any local or foreign investor seeking to develop facilities, stressing that the Nigerian Content Act provided that goods manufactured in-country would always get patronised by the industry ahead of foreign alternatives.

On the Polaku pipemill, Wabote informed that the Board had completed the sand filling of the site, conducted environmental impact assessment and embarked on the construction of the access road.
He added that the Board entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Titan Steel of China, which expected to commence construction and complete the project by 2019.

On the modular refineries being promoted by the federal government for establishment in oil producing states, Wabote stated that the Board’s initiatives seek to ensure that the refineries get fabricated and assembled in Nigeria as against being imported from overseas.

He solicited support from the legislature to ensure that indigenous operating companies and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) comply fully with the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act.