Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian Content Development Management Board (NCDMB) has disclosed that a good number of International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria who have failed to make statutory remittances to the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) would be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for appropriate prosecution.
NCDMB’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Simbi Wabote, stated recently that it conducted a forensic audit on remittances to the NCDF, to discover that a huge number of IOCs were defaulting in the law which mandates that up to one per cent of the value of contracts awarded in the upstream oil and gas sector of the country be remitted to it.
Wabote, explained that while some IOCs had owned up to their misconducts, and begun to make amends, some have, however, failed to come through, and as such the board would invite the EFCC to prosecute such erring firms.
“We put in place seven companies to assist the board in carrying out specific and specialised monitoring and compliance functions in the upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors of the industry.
“We also deployed chartered accounting firms to carry out forensic audit of Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) remittances. As you might be aware, Section 104 of the Nigerian Content Act mandates that one per cent of the value of contracts awarded in the upstream section of the oil and gas industry must be remitted to the NCD Fund,” said Wabote.
He subsequently stated that, “The forensic audit started in November 2018 and have revealed huge amounts of non-remittances from operating and service companies.
“At the moment, some companies have owned up to their indebtedness and have started addressing their infractions. On the other hand, a few companies have remained recalcitrant. We have concluded plans to hand over such companies to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution.”
Wabote, noted that the NCDMB would be willing to welcome, “companies that want to come up with structured payment plans,” but, “would not entertain pleas to write off any indebtedness.”
He equally disclosed that the NCDMB has deployed a new monitoring and evaluation template which, “simplifies the processes and procedures for reporting Nigerian Content performance and enhances speed of compliance and quality of data gathering.”
According to him, the NCDMB has also continued its advocacy for the extension of the Nigerian Content Act to other critical sectors of the economy such as the power sector, construction as well as information communication technology (ICT).
“We plan to collaborate closely with the 9th National Assembly to continue the process for amendment which was initiated by the 8th Assembly. We strongly believe that there is no need to create multiple regulators of local content in Nigeria. The Board can modify its templates to suit other sectors. In our view, this is the prudent way to expand and entrench local content regime in Nigeria,” he explained.