Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Minister of State, Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva yesterday said that federal government would continue to support local content in the oil industry, noting that it would reduce the rising cost of production in the oil industry.
Sylva spoke while inspecting the 17-story Office Complex of the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and a 10 mega-watts power plant in Bayelsa expected to supply electricity to the building, the Nigerian Oil and Gas Plant Scheme (NOGAPS) and selected government institutions.
Sylva said that local content to a large extent connotes cost reduction in the oil and gas sector, saying local contractors charge less than the expatriates due to some inbuilt costs.
“Local content development is part of cost reduction. Local contractors are cheaper than expatriates. That is part of our cost reduction strategy. That is why we want to encourage local participation in Nigeria.
“Expatriates come with a lot of costs like insurance. Local content is cheaper and by extension we are reducing cost of doing business in Nigeria by supporting local content.”
He stated that he was impressed with the facility, arguably the tallest building in the Niger Delta, saying when completed in the next few weeks, it will reduce the rush to host major oil and gas activities in Lagos and Abuja.
He added that within a few years of the NCDMB’s existence, the management had been able to turn things around in the oil and gas industry, especially in the area of local capacity development.
“I am impressed. This is an indication about what Nigerians can do in Nigeria. This is encouraging for other contractors and the content Board. When you see that local contractors could do this, they inspire other contractors.”
While commending the Executive Secretary of the Board, headquartered in Bayelsa, Mr. Simbi Wabote, a former Shell employee, the former governor said as the Minister of Petroleum, he would ensure that more federal projects are attracted to Bayelsa.
He added: “The problem we have had over the years as a region is that where the oil is explored, we do not have infrastructure to host events. That is why most times they host their activities in Abuja and Lagos.
“Now that we have a befitting structure like this, we will now see a lot of oil and gas activities going on in the Niger Delta, which will be helpful to the people.
“I am quite impressed, that within a short time of their existence, as compared to other organisations in Nigeria, this building has almost been completed.
“This building is a testament of the great work and the 10 mega watts power plant project, which is a modular plant that can be increased up to 25 mega watts, that our people are capable of doing great things.”
Also at the inspection, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Wabote said the building would be completed in December 2019, though added that movement to the new place would be gradual so as not to disrupt operations.
He said that the board trained more than 50 youths from the host communities, who hitherto had no skill, in vocations such as carpentry and laying of tiles; stating that they now work in the facility.