By Obas Esiedesa, ABUJA
THE Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote has disclosed that the board recovered close to $100 million from oil and services companies in unremitted levy to the Nigerian Content Development Fund in seven years.
Wabote, who disclosed this at the opening of the 2021 Nigerian Oil and Gas conference, NOG, in Abuja on Monday said the money was recovered from the companies in the undisputed obligations from the Third-Party Forensic Audit of remittances between years 2010 to 2017.
He warned companies which are failing to comply with the provisions of the NOGICD Act that the agency was not helpless and would impose necessary sanctions on defaulters.
He stressed that in line with the law, priority would continue to be given to Nigerian companies in granting oil and gas licences, award of oil blocks, and other contracts in the industry.
READ ALSO: NCDMB to host African Local Content Roundtable in Yenagoa
“We continue to deploy the provisions of the NOGICD Act to fortify the oil and gas industry against these attacks such as Sections 3, 12, and 28 of the NOGICD Act which state that first consideration shall be given to Nigerian operators in the award of blocks and licenses, to Nigerian goods and services in the evaluation of bids, and for the employment and training of Nigerians in any project executed in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
“Let me emphasize that this is the law of the land and the default mindset for any reputable local or international operator or service provider is to comply”, he added.
Wabote cautioned those companies which consider cost first in determining where projects are manufactured that after exporting jobs, they may return to find the environment less conducive for their operation.
“Great companies self-regulate to do the right thing within the confines of their business environment thus making their interface with agencies of government seamless.”
Local Content must not be seen as a cost centre but part of the business with several benefits to all nations, businesses, and investors involved in the practice.
“Let me highlight that we are not helpless or oblivious of what to do as a regulator when it comes to dealing with recalcitrant defaulters. We are very pragmatic and only resort to the deployment of our powers when all efforts to bring offending parties to compliance fail”.
He praised Total Energies for having faith in Nigeria by executing the bulk of the Egina project in-country thereby boosting Nigeria’s fabricating capacity from 60,000MT to 250,000MT.
He said the board would continue to support local companies despite the attainment of 35 percent local content in the industry.
“Let me also highlight that we have put in place intervention funds to serve as buffer to mitigate the impact of shocks from the oil and gas cycles.
“Section 104 of the Act created the Nigerian Content Development Fund and we have set up a total of 400 million dollars with $300million being managed by BOI and $100 million being managed by NEXIM Bank”.
He urged companies operating in the industry to take full advantage of the commencement of the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to export to other African countries.
In his presentation, the Deputy Managing Director, Deep Water, Total E & P Nig. Limited, Mr. Victor Bandele, acknowledged that local content in the 18 oil producing countries in Africa remains very low.
Bandele however pointed out that Total E&P has played major role in growing local content in Nigeria with several high profile projects.
He said: “Despite the challenging environment that we operate in as an industry, TotalEnergies remains committed to investing in the country because we strongly believe in the potential of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“This is why we have been quite active in recent years even in the face of understandable uncertainties. We completed Egina at the end of 2018 and have been progressing well with the development of Ikike project”.
He noted that “there is no debating the fact that oil-rich African countries have not benefited satisfactorily from the exploitation of their hydrocarbons.
“Though they receive significant fiscal benefits from the export of oil and gas, the development linkages to other economic sectors remain marginal in terms of domestic value added and job creation.
“This is why there is a renewed zeal among these countries to try and extract as much value as they can from the Oil and Gas Industry.
“This is also why many of these oil-producing African nations have adopted local content policies as a development strategy aimed at increasing the benefits from the Industry.”
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.