By Godfrey Bivbere, Abigail Ezewanfor & Kemi Abioye
THE Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB)has called on the Federal Government to revive the two steel plants in Ajaokuta, Kogi State and Aladja, Delta State, saying that it holds the key to local development in the maritime and oil and gas sectors of the nation’s economy.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engineer Simbi Wabote, speaking at a sensitisation seminar on Local Content Development in Shipping, Oil and Gas Logistics Operations in Nigeria organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria, MARAN, said that lack of local production of steel was among the challenges slowing down oil and gas industry from recording the expected growth.
Represented by the Board’s General Manager, Corporate Communication and Zonal Co-ordination, Dr. Ginah .O Ginah, Wabote maintained that non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Governing Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari led government and high cost of production have pushed back investors from investing in the sector, saying that production of oil and gas in Nigeria is the costliest in the world.
‘’Our country does not have an efficient steel industry and everything in oil and gas industry requires steel. Nigeria is losing a huge foreign exchange to importation of steel. Steel used in the industry is imported; government has to do something to revive iron and steel industry. Local content usage in the sector will jump to 50 percent if we produce steel locally,’’ he said.
He stated that the industry is confronted with shortage of research institutes as most of the oil and gas researches that are being used to develop and carry out exploration were carried out abroad.
He said that most of the Nigerian universities that could have produced manpower for the industry are running outdated curricular which has made their products inadequate to take rightful positions in the industry.