By Deji Elumoye
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, have canvassed for the strengthening of local capacities for Nigerian economy to experience rapid growth.
The duo made the submission yesterday while declaring open a two-day virtual Nigerian Content Summit jointly organised by the Senate Committee on Local Content and House Committees on Content Development and Monitoring.
Lawan, in his remarks, emphasised that the improvement of local capacities has become imperative against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He underscored the need to develop the country’s local capacities, saying: “We need to also appreciate that our social and economic conditions need continuous reviews for development, with a good quantum of home-grown fundamentals, and especially considering the new realities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic reminds us of the need for resource independence, the strengthening of local capacity, and the importance of increasing indigenous variables in the oil and gas production, and in other areas.
“The overall aim of this is the promotion of industrialisation of the country’s all-important oil and gas sectors to enhance the wellbeing of those in the industry and the overall growth of the Nigerian economy.
“We are actually at a time for more inward reflection through the enhancement of internal capacity, towards productivity and efficiency for national progress. This is all to satisfy the yearnings and aspirations of the people.”
According to him, the summit will seek “to stimulate understanding on the short and long-term implications of relevant bills before the two Houses.”
Lawal added that “the bills, including the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB.417), Nigerian Local Content Enforcement Bill, 2020 (SB. 419), and the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act, 2020 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2020 (SB. 420), are obviously to increase composite value addition.
“This value addition expectedly developed from within, with the aid of local services and resources in the petroleum industry, would contribute to local capacity building, with considerations for the elements of health, safety and quality.”
On his part, Gbajabiamila said Nigeria, like other countries, must look inwards to develop the skills and capacities required to sustain local production.
According to him, the National Assembly in 2010 enacted the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act.
Gbajabiamila said: “I am proud of my colleagues who have championed these bills because, again, they reflected the sort of legislative support we had committed to provide the executive with respect to government policies and programmes.
“When we were inaugurated as the ninth National Assembly, we made a commitment to Nigerians to cooperate with the executive and other arms of government to deliver good governance to Nigerians. That is and has remained our priority.”
Also speaking, Chairman of Senate Committee on Local Content, Teslim Folarin, said the summit was part of a pre-public hearing stakeholders’ engagement to obtain the input of stakeholders into the proposed legislations.