Oscarline Onwuemenyi and Inalegwu Shaibu
ABUJA â€” The Â Â Â chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senator Lee Maeba has lauded the signing into law of the Nigeria Content Bill by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan saying that it is a giant step towards ending the dominance of expatriates in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
Senator Maeba who sponsored the bill in the Senate before the harmonised version was signed into law by Acting President Jonathan said the new Act will fast track development in Nigeria, including ending the problems of militancy in the Niger Delta.
He said the Act stipulates 30 to 100 percent local contents in all operations in the oil and gas industries ranging from award of licences or permits for oil exploration, production and transportation.
The Act further stipulates 30 to 100 percent local content in every support services in the oil and gas industry including the establishment of the Nigerian Content Board to develop local content and monitor the implementation of Nigerian content in the oil and gas industry.
Senator Maeba said that the various provisions of the Act has finally given Nigerians full participatory right in the oil and gas industry.
He said, â€œA lot of the host community people come to the public hearing and say pass this bill for us and the problems in our areas are solved. This is a bill that specifies what we called the community content.
â€œIt says if a company like Shell have a major project in a local government. You must establish in that community a project office that will award up to 60 percent support service in that project.
â€œThis means that the community people do not have to go to the city to struggle for contract in the headquarters of that company. That company must by law establish project office will award up to 60 percent contract for support services.â€
Senator Maeba said that the Act is not a blessing for the oil and gas sector but other critical sectors of the Nigerian such as banks and Insurance companies.
â€œNot only that, this bill goes far, this bill is a blessing for the Nigerian bank. This bill says not less than a minimum of 10 percent of every profit made by multinational companies even Nigerian companies during business in Nigeria must domicile a minimum of 10 percent of their annual profit in a Nigerian bank.
â€œIf Shell makes a profit of $1 billion from Nigeria this year, what is 10 percent of $1 billion? That is a $100 million. So if they continue to put that in a Nigerian bank for five years, so you can see that there will be so much money in the bank.
â€œAlso, this bill says that all insurable components of every project done by Oil Company in Nigeria must be insured by a Nigerian insurance company unless where in the opinion of the Nigerian Insurance Commission that the capacity of insurance has been exhausted, so which means insurance business will be on the boom.
â€œWhat of legal services? Every legal services, whether litigation, where attorneys from New York are taking up legal services for projects in Nigeria. That is all over. The law says every legal service for any project taking place in Nigeria must be done by a Nigerian legal company.