Kachikwu: Nigeria is Working

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..NCDMB, BoI Signs $200m local content initiative MoU

Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has charged critics of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to be sincere and objective in assessing the performance of the government, saying emphatically that Nigeria is working.

Kachikwu said antagonists of government should have expended the time spent in criticising the administration judiciously by looking at and commend efforts of the APC-led government in reshaping the country through people-oriented social investment programmes and policies targeted at energizing the economy.

The minister commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving so much to revamping the country irrespective of his age and health.

He said the president has been dogged in reshaping the country.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to devote more time to debating the progress of the country and what they can do to move the nation forward than devoting time to discussing personalities and frivolous criticism of government.
Kachikwu spoke yesterday at the signing of a $200 million Nigeria Content Development Fund Memorandum of Understanding between the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Bank of Industry (BoI) held at the auditorium of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund in Abuja thursday.

He such great achievements recorded by the government is the absence of queue in filling stations across the country due to reorganization and repositioning of the petroleum industry, stressing that “it took a lot of work for this government to get there and it took a lot of work to sustain it”, adding that the spate of militancy and disruption of oil production in the Niger Delta has drastically been reduced.

This, he said, is one of the many revolutionary drive of the government in the oil and gas sector, adding that there are more to be done to achieve optimal success especially to reduce the current price of producing a barrel of oil put at $32.

He said: “I believe that the NNPC can do that because government will work with the Ministry of Power to quicken gas delivery in the country by privatizing infrastructure in the oil and gas sector.

The kicking off of the local content intervention fund, he said is another achievement of the administration stressing that the fund will help to galvanise local and foreign investment, ginger stakeholders to work assiduously in the industry and grow local content.

While commending both NCDMB and BoI for the partnership, he cautioned that in administering the fund, factors such as geographical spread, adoption of cutting edge technology and focus on oil producing communities should be put into consideration.

Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, while congratulating the Buhari administration and the petroleum minister for the success of the MoU, said the contract has gone through a lot of re-working, stating that the fund which will be utilised by players in local content sector would generate employment and increase participation in the industry.

He said the loan would be single digit interest in dollar and that an amount not exceeding $10 million would be made available to companies that want to acquire asset at 8 percent interest rate for a five-year tenor.

The Executive Secretary, NCDMB. Mr Simbi Nwabote, said the availability of the fund gathered over the years from one per cent deduction in contract fees of local content players will go a long way in addressing the challenge of funding that has previously stifled local content development.

“Funding challenge has negatively impacted on operations of stakeholders in the industry. It is a thing of joy that the MoU will address the challenge. We are excited at the launch of this single digit intervention fund”, he said while he emphasized that intending applicants for the fund must have been contributing to the local content development.

He promised that challenges of power and contract process cycle facing the industry will be critically looked into while appreciating President Buhari for bringing transparency to all transactions within the local content industry.
Nwabote said prior to the signing of the NCDMB into law, there have been capital flight of about $380 billion out of the country in about 50 years and loss of about two million jobs but since inception the Board has without compromising standards developed capacity in the local supply chain the industry.