By KUNLE KALEJAYE and EDIRI EJOH
The Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCMDB, said it currently has over US$200 million in its Fund, to promote the execution of projects in the oil and gas sector in areas such as fabrication, manufacturing, and training of local talents.
The Executive Secretary of the Board, Mr. Ernest Nwapa, who disclosed this also, hinted that over N2 billion had been invested in the construction of fabrication yards across the country, noting that it had a zero account when it commenced operations three years ago.
“I will rather say that there have been more opportunities in the industry since the creation of the board. Although as at the time we started, we operated from a zero account but today $200 million fund with us,” he said.
Within three years of enforcing the local content initiative in the oil and gas sector, he explained that it has achieved 90 per cent content in local engineering, 50 per cent in fabrication, and seven per cent in manufacturing.
Nwapa disclosed this while speaking on the theme: “Three years of Nigeria Content: Achievements and Challenges,” at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Energy Correspondent, NAEC, in Lagos last week.
He stressed that over the past three years, the Board had made huge progress in achieving the objectives of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, in relation to marine vessels ownership, local fabrication, job creation and manufacturing.
According to him, “As part of our plans to moving the industry forward we will launch two tanker vessels that will carry Nigerian crude oil. This will be the first in the country.”
He reiterated that the Nigeria content initiative is aimed at bringing back lost jobs to the country, saying, “Nigeria for decade has been buying and importing things that we need in the sector. This has resulted to the loss of opportunity to create jobs for Nigerians.
“America realised the importance of bringing jobs back to America and for Americans. Nigeria should not be left out; we should strive to do the same.
“The Nigeria content aims to do just that which is to bring back lost jobs into the country. But in an attempt to be a robust oil producing country, Nigeria must have the facilities, operators own and manage assets in the industry.
“In addition, the Board is involved in direct training to develop local skills which is a model of training Nigerians and sending them abroad. This has been done in collaboration with PETROFAC and OGTAN,” he said.
Nwapa argued that the NCDMB is becoming a robust entity owing to the growth of more indigenous players in the industry, and haven seen the success of the local content initiative in the petroleum industry, the National Assembly is currently deliberating on laws in spreading the Nigeria content law to all sectors of the economy.
“We can make Nigeria a great oil producing nation, but in doing so, we need the support of the press. The Nigeria content law does not deprive anybody to work in the industry, but encourages everybody to work,” Nwapa said.