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Senate begins oversight to tackle indigenous operators’ marginalisation

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Sen. Solomon Adeola addressing the media during the oversight

The Senate has commenced a two-day oversight visit to the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and major projects in Bayelsa and Rivers to monitor compliance with the Act establishing the board.

The Senate Committee on Local Content which embarked on the oversight, vowed not to relent in its efforts to promote adherence to local content.

The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Solomon Adeola, during a visit to the headquarters of the board in Bayelsa on Wednesday, said the senate was passionate in ensuring that indigenous operators were not shortchanged.

Adeola said following the resolve to give indigenous operators their pride of place, the senate had commenced review of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act 2010.

He stressed that part of the review was to ensure strict compliance with terms of agreement reached with international companies on local content among other things.

He pointed out that the committee would ensure development of local capacities, while monitoring compliance with provisions of the act.

“Our review of the local content impact and cost of the EGINA project and other similar projects is an evidence of the committee’s commitment to promoting local content initiative.

“This is to also ensure that the nation gets the best value from partnership in the oil and gas industry.

“The committee in today’s oversight is keen in observing two critical issues that affect the board

“They are: the impact of the financial autonomy granted the board and the budget performance of the board as well as the level of completion of work of the board headquarters.

“We also seek to know the progress made with the Nigerian oil and gas park, capacity building and artisan training and critical direct intervention.

“We are not unaware of the challenges of the board in carrying out it’s mandate and we are ready to help.

“We will ensure high level compliance to local content and we are working to ensure that, ” he said.

Adeola said local content initiative was a growing strategy in developing nations that had suffered importation of investment, labour and technology in critical sectors of the economy.

He said the initiative was aimed at encouraging domestic investment, promoting empowerment and employment of indigenes and facilitating technology transfer to expand our economy.

The lawmaker noted that it was the implementation of the initiative in Nigeria that led to the enactment of the act.

“The need for the greater inclusion of the legislature in the initiative is believed to further enhance the attainment of the ideas and this led to the inauguration of the committee on Local Content in Nov. 2017.

“The committee was inaugurated with the mandate to ensure the use of local manpower by companies sited in Nigeria.

“It was also inaugurated to design policies and make laws that would ensure the patronage of local manufacturing industries by Nigeria as well as carry out oversight function of the board and other operators in the industry.

“Since inauguration, the committee has worked to to add value to local content initiative, increase impact and enforcement of NOGICD Act and ensure greater fulfillment of the board’s mandate in the interest of Nigerians,” he said.

He commended the efforts of the board in fulfilling its mandate, including creating an enabling environment for indigenous companies to strive in the oil and gas industry.

“We have also observed promotion of investment in the onshore and offshore segment of the Industry and implementation of knowledge transfer like introduction of Nigeria Content Intervention Fund.

“It is in the interest of furthering this achievement that the committee is focusing on key areas of law and policy development, institutional functioning and oversight function.

“In a bid to develop the laws and policies to support the local content initiative, the committee has commenced a review of the act.

“It will help to increase it’s relevance to the current industry realities and more importantly to expand the scope to cover other industries such as ICT, telecom, manufacturing and extractive industry among others.

“It is our belief that this review will be completed in the life of this assembly,” he said.

The Executive Secretary of the board, Simbi Wabote, said the board was able to ensure the establishment of pipe mills in the country, adding that there was no pipe mill when the act started.

“We carried out a survey to understand the consumption of pipe in the oil and gas industry and we discovered that there is room for us to establish pipe manufacturing outfits.

“Today we have about 670 metric tonne capacity in the country. Two pipe mills have been established.

“One is existing in Abuja and the second one is in Lagos,” Wabote said.

The executive secretary disclosed that the importation of coated pipes into Nigeria had been banned, adding that those that were imported for lack of capability of the indigenous mills must be coated in Nigeria.

He stressed that the country had five world class pipe coating plants, two in Rivers; two in Lagos and one in Abuja.

“Our vision as a board is to be a catalyst for the industrialisation of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors.

“There are other sectors that also have impact in the entire value chain that we have to look at in terms of construction, power, railway, ICT.

“Our mission is to promote the development and utilisation of in-country capabilities and industrialisation of Nigeria through the effective implementations to the latter,” he said.

Source: NAN

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