For the local content policy to be fully achieved the law guiding its practice must be strictly adhered to, the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Patrick Obah, has said.
Obah, who spoke on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the Board, Simbi Wabote, at an oil and gas forum in Lagos, with the theme “The role of Nigeria’s local content policy and its impact on sustainable economic value creation,” noted that local content as a global agenda is about protecting the country’s natural deposits.
He insisted that the practical aspect of the local content was still missing. According to him, we must be tie practical retention with theory, adding that what we have been able to do is to explain to people how things by allowing them to have a feel of it, he stressed.
Our focus when we talk about succession plan is not about the Nigerianisation of companies and positions but what time Nigerian will acquire that skill, he asked. We must know what we have on ground that will give a clear pointer to where we want to go, he said, adding if we do not know, we cannot plan well.
He said: “All these companies you see have different levels of capacities. A lot of people don’t know what Nigerians can do. I have had opportunities to visit some companies and it is awesome the kind of investments that exist in this country. If we do not have statistics of what is on ground and what they can do, that is, the capacities these companies have, the kind of skills they have, we can adequately articulate all of these parameters and forge our country ahead. When we get the statistics right, the capacities right, we would be able to know where to improve.
He said the Nigerian content law is about the domiciliation/domestication of value-adding activities. He said the key word about the Nigerian content implementation is development and monitoring, hence the need to develop local capacities and capabilities and then monitor compliance and enforcement.
“There must be standardisation in the way we do things. If we don’t do that we cannot get a clear direction towards development. We should be able to bring in specialisation into all these things,” he stated.
He noted that the local content as it is practised in other places, such as Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Indonesia, United Kingdom and Canada. They all had local content laws after discovering oil.
“Also, when they had to face the green energy, they didn’t have the full technology but they made pronouncements that the government should favour any company, which during bidding, had high percentage of the country’s content,” he said adding the conditions were listed and are almost the same.
“The conditions include technology transfer, employment of locals, capital flight reduction, local ownership and control of assets, poverty alleviation drive, increased production and utilisation of locally made goods, and sustainable economic growth.
“Before now, the emphasis was on how much money we could get from the oil and gas value chain, revenue generation, taxes as well as being able to produce first oil,” he noted.
However, with the enactment of the NODGIC Act 2010, the emphasis shifted more to in-country manufacturing, skilled manpower, job creation, technology development, revenue retention, research and development, value retention, technology linkages and industrialisation and in-country services.
Obah said the Board had provided on its website for whistle blowing . With this, the board wants to know about compliance in terms of Nigerian content. “So, if you see any infraction, please send it to us. We don’t need to know your name, where you stay or where you work, tell us the problem and we spend resources to investigate that and where any company, any individual is found liable, we invoke the provisions of the law,” he added.