By Emem Idio, Yenagoa
Stakeholders in the Niger Delta region have called for the amendment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act to include a local benefit plan for host communities.
The call was made during the annual public lecture of the Federated Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Bayelsa State Council, on the theme: “Ten Years of the NOGIC Act: Achieving 70% Nigerian Content,” held at the NUJ Press Centre, Yenagoa.
Chairman of the occasion, and retired federal permanent secretary, Ambassador Boladei Igali, lamented that host communities were still ignorant of the provisions of the Act, adding that the local folks should be sensitized on the provisions of the Act.
Igali, who was represented by the Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, Chief Nengi James, while commending the Correspondents Chapel for organising the lecture, called for the domestication of the Act to accommodate local realities.
In his lecture, titled: “Ten Years of the NOGIC Act: Achieving 70% Nigerian Content,” the guest lecturer and Director-General of the Yenagoa Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, YECCIMA, Mr Warmate Jones, said the NCDMB are yet to achieve the projected 70 Nigerian Content, pointing out that only 30% has been achieved so far.
He noted that the NCDMB has stated that they hope to achieve the strategic roadmap in 2027 as well as 300,000 jobs.
On the amendment of the NOGIC Act, he highlighted that Section 7,10,13, and 15 needs to be amended to include a local benefit plan, and proposed that a minimum of 40% of all in-country services for purchases to made from within the productional areas of the oil industry.
He said, “The NCDMB should review it’s ten years strategic roadmap to include projections or retaining a minimum of 30% of industry spent by 2027, and 100,000 of projected 300,000 jobs in the Niger Delta.
“To initiate an amendment to Section 3, subsection 1, and 2 of the Act to accommodate a minimum percentage for the award of oil bloc, field license and oil lifting licences to companies indigenous to and in the Niger Delta. Provide 20-30 funding assistant for the local content fund to companies or businesses in the Niger Delta that are utilizing crude oil and gas products or by-products in their production.”
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Mineral Resources, Dr Ibiere Jones, said the state government has been providing the enabling environment for the multinational oil companies to peacefully coexist with their within the host communities.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Acting Chairman of the Federated Correspondents Chapel, Mr Chris Eze, said the lecture was to provoke discourse and commentaries and appraise the enforcement of the NOGIC Act ten years after it’s enactment.