Former President Goodluck Jonathan has advised African nations, especially those producing oil and gas, to establish a local content policy as a means of fast-tracking the development of local technology, industrialisation and deepening economic growth on the continent.
The ex-president gave this advice wednesday in Houston at the 2018 Local Content Conference, taking place on the side-lines of this yearâ€™s Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Texas the United States.
Jonathan noted that the impact of the local content Act which he signed into law as a president in the year 2010 has brought about significant progress in local capacity utilisation in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Encouraging other African nations to embrace similar initiative, he said: â€œI strongly recommend the local content policy for all oil and gas producing African nations because of its in-country positive impact on the development of local technology,
employment generation and capacity to promote value addition, industrialisation and overall expansion of the economy.
The former president further described local content policy as â€œthe missing link in Africaâ€™s search for viable processes and procedures that would strengthen the continentâ€™s economy across strategic value chains.â€
Jonathan also urged African leaders to prioritise education and manpower development in order to produce the required workforce that would galvanise industrialisation. According to him, â€œAfrican leaders must pay special attention to manpower development through quality education, training and research in areas of need to give local content through quality industrialisation, a great push. For Africa to truly develop in a sustainable manner, leaders must make conscious efforts to ensure that the education curricula of various countries are radically redesigned to produce skills relevant to the economic needs of the 21st century.â€
He also said: â€œAfrica needs to build competences and cultivate knowledgeable manpower that would revolutionize the continentâ€™s technological advancement. That way, we can control the processes of exploration and exploitation of resources across the entire value chain of the petroleum industry and other sectors of the economy.â€
Speaking further on the gains of the local content policy to Nigeria,
the former president stated that its successful implementation has improved local capacity building for upstream and downstream operations and greatly boosted the push for industrialisation in the country.
He said further: â€œI believe that Nigeria is utilising the increased application of the local content Act in its oil and gas industry to stimulate investments that will positively transform other sectors of its economy, and create more jobs for the unemployed. I am aware that the mileage already covered and successes recorded in the implementation of the Act in less than a decade have attracted local and international commendations. It has also excited the interest of some African countries that are already soliciting for the Nigerian content policy as a guide.
â€œBy its nature, the local content policy was designed to stimulate local production and industrialization by leveraging linkages in the petroleum industry and other sectors of the economy to boost employment and production. I will say that the local content Act has galvanised and transformed the entire oil and gas industry in Nigeria into a very vibrant sector with enhanced capacities in technological development, interventions and innovations. I believe that the local skills, capacities and creativity developed for the oil industry can easily be adapted in other sectors of the economy such as ICT, agriculture, transportation, power, health and overall manufacturing.
â€œWe have got to the point where we can safely say that the oil and gas sector in Nigeria decisively forms the pivot for the acceleration of the countryâ€™s industrial growth. I believe that with consistency and unwavering commitment in the implementation of the law, the industry will continue to grow and more values can be achieved in the economy.â€