Bill to Make Nigeria Industrial Nation Underway

  • Proposes Vice President as chair of local content devt committee

Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu

A new bill on local content that will ensure that Nigeria joins the league of industrialised nations is in the works at the National Assembly.

The new bill which has passed second reading at the Senate is also proposing to make the Vice President Chair of the National Local Content Development Committee.

Chairman of the Senate committee on Local Content, Senator Teslim Folarin, told newsmen at the weekend that the bill entitled “A bill for an Act to enact the Nigerian Local Content Act to provide for the Development, Regulation, and Enforcement of Nigerian content in all sectors of the Nigerian economy except in the oil and gas sector and other matters relating therewith, 2020 (SB.419)”, sponsored by him, if passed into law would transform Nigeria into an industrialised nation before long.

According to him, the bill has been structured to introduce procedures that would achieve major gains in local content implementation in the oil and gas sector as well as other sectors of the economy.

He also said the proposed law recognised the fact that government had been overstretched with too many agencies and therefore sought to rely on existing structures of government to implement local content.

Other provisions of the bill, he said, include the creation of local content development committee to be headed by the Vice President, who will drive the national policy direction on local content.

According to him, “the bill gives ministers who are responsible for implementing government policies in their sectors, additional responsibility for ensuring local content is achieved in all their transactions.”

The former Senate Leader also said the Public Procurement Policy would be relied upon to make local content compliance, a requirement for granting of Certificate of No Objection to procuring entities.

Said he: “Each sector will be required to set local content targets in its procurement of goods, services and manpower and this will be well reflected in procurement planning, advertisement, bid evaluation and vendor selection.

“Approvals for award of contracts by the Federal Executive Council will upon enactment of the Bill require a Nigerian Content Compliance Certificate”.

He added that the amendments being sought through the bill to the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010, will not have any financial implication on the government as the structures for its operations are already in place.

The bill, Senator further said is providing the legal framework for the implementation of local content policy in other key sectors of the nation’s economy including Power, ICT, Construction, Transport, among others

He also said the bill further provides the legal basis for the enforcement of Presidential Executive Order (003; 005) on local content. ”Before this Act which amendment is now being sought came into force in 2019, over 90 per cent of the $20bn spent yearly in the Nigerian oil and gas industry was repatriated abroad. This was because a large chunk of the contracts was executed by foreign companies and in foreign facilities. With only few indigenous players and facilities participating in the contracting process in the industry, Nigerian content was less than five percent,” he further said.