‘Local Content Critical to Nigeria’s Economic Growth’

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Jonathan Eze

The Senate Committee on Local Content has stated that Nigeria has a lot to gain economically through the faithful implementation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (NOGICD) Act 2010.

Addressing participants at the opening of 2019 Local Content Stakeholders Retreat with the theme: “ Deepening Legislative-Executive Relationship for Better Sectoral Performance,” in Abuja, the committee Chairman, Senator Solomon Adeola, said since the coming on stream of the Act and the operation of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, (NCDMB), many Nigerians now benefit from the oil and gas industry in terms of ownership as well as conscious capacity building for Nigerians who can now work, not only in the country, but all over the world where such skills are needed.

“At present, no major oil and gas contract takes place without capacity building and training for Nigerians built into such contracts. This has created a pool of specialised manpower for the industry that are manning key infrastructure that were formerly handle by foreigners.

“For instance the Egina Deep offshore project that is now on stream was able to train about 500 Nigerians in its execution and these include such highly skilled capacity building as sub- sea engineers,” the chairman stated.

Adeola, stated that based on the numerous benefits of the Local Content Act, it should be one of the agenda of the 9th National Assembly to quickly amend the law to include other sectors like manufacturing, construction and ICT that are still majorly dominated by foreigners.

According to him, the regulatory body of the law should be further empowered, particularly in the area of manpower to carry out regulations as many oil and gas companies and International Oil and Gas Companies (IOCs) are still flouting the law in their operations in Nigeria.

“I want to also suggest that the Local Content Fund contributed by stakeholders now at about $200 million should be made accessible to genuine investors who are contributors to the fund.
“Nigerians companies should be able to buy vessel from their manufacturers directly using the fund which will encourage accountability,” he stated.

In his own address, the executive secretary of NCDMB, Engineer Simbi Wabote, said the nation had achieved much in the area of implementation of the law since 2010, with Nigerians playing key roles in the oil and gas industry to the level of heading foreign firms in the country, adding that the goal of domiciliation and domestication of value adding activities and not just “Nigerianisation” was being achieved creditably.

The executive secretary commended Adeola for the strides he has made on the legislative side, saying in spite of the newness of the committee in the Senate, he was able to keep major industry players on their toes by not only relying on NCDMB information on regulations, but also prying directly into the activities of the IOCs.