To promote local content initiatives, the House of Representatives has called on International Oil Companies, IOCs, to patronise the indigenous marine support base and shipyards in the country.
The call was made during a tour of the West African Ventures, WAV, shipyard, a 100 per cent Nigerian company located at Warri in Delta State, where they discovered newly built boats constructed in-country but awaiting purchase by oil and gas operators.
The Chairman, House Committee on Local Content, Honourable Emmanuel Okon, who spoke after an inspection and verification of WAV local content capacity as part of the committee’s oversight function, lamented the under utilisation of the company’s facilities by IOCs.
He advocated higher patronage so as to encourage sustainable investment needed to build in-country capacity and ability of indigenous companies to compete internationally.
Expressing satisfaction with the standard of the passenger boats, tug boats and investment in dry dock, Okon promised that the lawmakers will ensure a better support for the West African Ventures’multi-billion naira yard as well as facilities of other indigenous companies in line with the local content policy.
He said:”I am impressed by what I am seeing here and I believe the community is impressed and from the local content perspective, I believe this is what it is all about. Even though the facilities are not properly utilized the way they are supposed to, we will try our very best to get people, marketers who can market this company and give them the level of patronage that they deserve.”
The Committee Chair also promised that the lower chambers will exercise its legislative powers to ensure that the crisis in the oil and gas sector does not weigh down on the business, as the global crisis is evidently affecting related markets and other local companies at this time.
His words:”As a responsive legislature, we will make sure that we continue to legislate and come out with laws and legislations that will force other companies and other users of light boat like this to consider getting it from companies like WAV with huge investment in the country to create jobs for Nigerian.”
The lawmaker also noted the impact of the Local Content Law since its enactment in 2010, as it has encouraged steady investments in various regions of Nigeria, adding that the law has also promoted the creation of thousands of jobs and skill acquisition in the oil and gas sector.
He further argued that under the law, indigenous companies have fared better and that more investments are expected when the economy improves.
The Executive Director, West African Ventures Limited, Alhaji Ibrahim Sambo, decried that the current economic crisis is prompting negative developments such as redundancies in the system. He revealed the company had embarked on three redundancy exercises in the last quarter to manage costsamid dwindling fortunes.
He commended the huge patronage from some government parastatals and other organisations in respect of flying boats services, border patrols having realised that facilities available were under-utilised.
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