By Udeme Akpan
THE Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, NCDMB, has disclosed that the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Petroleum Refinery under construction would enhance the implementation of local content policy in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, said this would be accomplished mainly through the award of contracts to Nigerian contractors, thereby building local capacity.
Recently, the company had announced the award of $368 million contract to 120 local contractors at the site, as part of its contribution to Nigeria content development initiative, adding that several Nigerian content opportunities were underway.
However, speaking on the sideline of the 9th Practical Nigerian Content, Wabote, said: “First of all, to be able to drive local content you need projects. For the fact that Dangote has been able to site its project in-country is the first step to the actualization of Local content.
“Dangote might as well have taken the refinery elsewhere, but he decided to execute the project in Nigeria, so that is a plus to the Nigeria investment sector. Secondly, at the peak of the construction of the refinery, about 65, 000 workers are on site, and the majority of those workers in terms of ratio that are providing various services, are Nigerians.
“Also, there is a lot of sub-contract that have been awarded within the projects site, the majority of those contracts are executed by Nigerian companies. To a very large extent, that is an example of believing in your country and trying to do things to enhance the development of your country.
“Although they are sited in the free trade zone, which has its own advantages, and off course he is entitled to enjoy those free trade advantages as enshrined in the law, but in terms of local content, it is a typical example of someone who believes in his country, someone who is patriotic to establish such a monumental projects within the shores of our land.”
He commended the company for training young Nigerians who will eventually take up the management of the refinery.
He said: “We will all eventually retire one day, and young people will take over from us. Those of us at the industry, at 60 we will all retire and then these engineers will take over from us.
He stated that the state of the current four refineries in the country cannot be liken to Dangote Refinery, stating that, Dangote’s refinery is a private investment which he believes that the company will do everything possible to run and maintain the refinery effectively.
“The other four refineries are government-run, and most times government is not in the position to run businesses effectively because of so many factors. Private investors will do a lot better than when you have the government run it.