The federal government yesterday barred foreign firms from contracts worth N5 billion and below in the country as a way of empowering local contractors in line with proposed Local Content Bills being considered by the Senate.
The Minister of State for Works and Housing, Mr. Abubakar Aliyu made this assertion when he appeared before National Assembly Joint Committees on Local Content, in Abuja.
“As part of measures being put in place for strengthening of local content laws in the country, contracts that are not more than N5billion are to be the exclusive preserve of indigenous firms or companies for bidding, award and execution,” Aliyu said.
But when asked by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Teslim Folarin (Oyo Central), whether the new policy would affect construction firms like Julius Berger, the minister said proper categorisation will be done to determine that.
“Julius Berger Plc is more or less an indigenalised foreign firm going by a high involvement of Nigerians in its operations and management over the years which makes its categorisation in this respect a bit difficult,” he said.
He added that other measures like registration of expatriates and proof of valid residence permit are also part of recommendations being made into the local content development bill.
Earlier in his remarks at the commencement of the second-day session, Folarin said the three bills being considered are very important to the development of the country’s oil and gas industry, which is one of the most viable sectors of the economy.
He explained that the Bills, among other things, seek to consolidate on the gains of the implementation of local content component in the oil and gas industry, pursuant to the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, 2010.
“One of the Bills also seeks to provide the needed legal framework for the implementation of local content in other key sectors of the economy, including power, ICT, Construction and Transportation.
“The enactment of this Bill, will no doubt, provide the legal basis for the enforcement of the Presidential Executive Order No. 5 of 5th February 2018, which seeks to improve local content procurement with regards to science, engineering and technology components of the economy,” he said.