Two committees of the House of Representatives have commenced actions to strengthen the local content policy of the federal government through passage of appropriate legislations.
The committees namely : committee on gas as well as committee on petroleum(upstream) met last week at the public hearing on Nigerian content in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Government has earmarked a whooping $60 billion for gas development in the next five years to diversify the nation’s economy and the law makers have disclosed that Nigerians should have their fair share of the investments.
Chairman, committee on gas, Igo Aguma declared at the forum that there was need for adequate legislation to protect the interests of Nigerians, open the sector to them and reduce foreign domination.
“There are various levels of infrastructure developments going on in these plants and projects, such as the $20 billion investment in Brass LNG, $20 billion required for the gas utilisation plan and yet another $10 billion needed between now and the flare-down date. Nigeria is therefore committing an investment sum in the region of about $60 billion within the next five years in all the LNG plants and the various gas utilisation projects. These are no mean projects, and they speak volumes of the degree of attention required to be accorded the Nigerian content in the development of the all-important sector of the oil and gas”, he stressed.
He however admitted that achieving local content or higher level of participation in the sector will not be very easy , but added that : “The challenges are as important as they are frightening. As a legislature, we must bequeath an internally-driven oil and gas sector in the interest of an enduring, sustainable and unadulterated development of the nation.”
Towing the line of his colleague, the Hose chairman on petroleum, upstream), Bassey Otu admitted that current legislations had not made any impact on the operations in the oil and gas sector, especially on the local content initiative.
“The effect is that the recent laws have been receptive towards foreign investment and domination. How and to what extent have these legislative incentives been beneficial to our people and their welfare can be understood from the analysis of the last 15 years of oil business in sub-Saharan Africa,” he declared