By Yemie Adeoye
FIVE years after its inception, the Nigerian content development Act, which was passed into law last week, was formally unveiled at the NNPC towers in Abuja.
The unveiling ceremony which witnessed a massive turnout by oil industry operators, stakeholders, captains of industries and members of the National Assembly signals the official enactment of the Act as it becomes law guiding the oil and gas sector operations.
The minister of petroleum resources, Mrs Diezani Allison_Madueke while performing the official unveiling of the ActÂ Â promised to aggressively implement the Nigerian Content Development law which was recently signed into law by the Acting President Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
According to her, the administration was determined to make the huge investment in the oil and gas industry impact positively on the economy and the lives of Nigerians through the new law.
â€œWe are determined to get this right and to make it work. That is why the Bill was signed into law only a few days after it was presented to me to enable us go to work expeditiously,â€ she said.
She also promised to adopt the same collaborative approach used in getting the Nigerian Content Development Bill passed into law to pursue the Petroleum Industry Bill to a logical and satisfactory conclusion, adding that â€œIf anyone was in doubt about the resolve of this administration to respond speedily to the aspirations of our people, the expeditious assent to the bill by the Acting President should send a clear signal that this administration is about serious business, speed and efficacy.â€
The Minister demonstrated her eagerness to start enforcing the law by appointing Engr. Ernest Nwapa, a former Group General Manager, Nigerian Content Division of the NNPC as the Acting Executive Secretary of the newly created Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board which is a provision of the Act as the agency to drive its implementation.
The Minister lamented that before now the impact of the over $18 billion annual spend in the oil and gas industry was not felt in the Nigerian economy because most of it was transferred outside the country to import materials and services for the industry because of the absence of a law to force the International Oil Companies, IOCs, and other players in the industry to source materials and services locally.
â€œWith the Act now in place, operators and service companies providing services to the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry will finally be required â€˜by lawâ€™ to perform designated scopes of work set out within the Act in Nigeria,â€ she declared.
This, she said, will create new opportunities for indigenous participation and local capacity building that will in turn boost industry contribution the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
She commended the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) Senator Lee Maeba, who sponsored the law, and the leaders of the National Assembly for their doggedness in seeing that the Bill was passed into law, while also calling on Nigerian and international investors to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the NCD Act and other incentive packages provided by such agencies as the Free Trade Zones and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council to invest in Nigeria.
Speaking earlier in his welcome remarks, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Shehu Ladan, traced the history of the Nigerian Content Development law and commended former NNPC GMD, Engnr Funsho Kupolokun, and pioneer GGM, Nigerian Content Division of the Corporation, Engnr Joseph Akande, for their visionary leadership in initiating the local content policy.
He said NNPC would now operate in compliance with the local content law like other oil companies, having been freed from driving the local content policy through the establishment of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board as provided for in the Nigerian Content Development Act.