…to pass bill extending Local Content Act to Construction, Power before end of 2017
Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Local Content have commended the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for itsdiligent implementation of the Nigerian Content Act and speedy execution of its headquarters building project and thePolaku pipemill project.
The members embarked on oversight visit to the Board’s premises and project sites in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State during the week.
Speaking at the Polaku pipemill site, Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Emmanuel Ekon noted that the location metall requirements for citing such a facility, including proximity to natural gas needed to generate electricity for the plant’s operations, access to road and river for transporting raw materials and finished products.
He dismissed insinuations that the Board was acting beyond its mandate in promoting the pipemill, insisting that theNigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act empowered the Board to woo investors and prepare locations, especially difficult terrains so that prospective investors would be convinced to commit their funds.
Commenting after the committee members toured the Board’s headquarters building project, Ekon promised that the House of Representatives would pass the bill extending the Nigerian Content Act to other key sectors of the economy so that Nigerians will enjoy the benefits. According to him, “the first reading has been passed and we are fine-tuning it. I believe the bill will be passed this year.”
He listed sectors to be covered by the extension to include power, construction, information communication technology and telecommunication, stressing that violations of Local Content were more prevalent in the construction sector than the oil and gas sector.
He also hailed the Board and its main contractor, Mega Starf on the speedy execution of the building project. He added, “I was here when this land was acquired in 2015. Then this place was bare ground. It’s not even up to two years and eight floors are already standing. We need to sell construction companies like this because it is 100 per cent indigenous. This company hasinvested resources in machines, personnel and construction equipment. Nigerians, multinationals and the Federal Government should patronise these kinds of companies.”
Speaking earlier when he welcomed the House Committee members at the NCDMB headquarters, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote explained that the Board’s mandate hinged on promoting, monitoring and evaluating Nigerian Content compliance in the oil and gasindustry and serving as a catalyst to attract and drive needed investments so as to grow the economy and create jobs.
He restated the Board’s preparedness to assist any local or foreign investor seeking to develop facilities, stressing that the Nigerian Content Act provided that goods manufactured in-country would always get patronized by the industry ahead of foreign alternatives.
On the Polaku pipemill, the Executive Secretary informed that the Board had completed the sand filling of the site, conducted environmental impact assessment and embarked on the construction of the access road. He added that the Board entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Titan Steel of China, who are expected to start construction and complete the project by 2019.
Dwelling on modular refineries being promoted by the Federal Government for establishment in oil producing states, Wabote stated that the Board’s initiatives seek to ensure that the refineries got fabricated and assembled in Nigeria as against being imported from overseas.
The Executive Secretary also solicited support from the legislature to ensure that indigenous operating companies and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) complyfully with the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act.