Local Content: Fed Govt bars foreign firms from N5b contracts

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The Federal Government has barred foreign firms  from bidding for contracts worth N5 billion in order to empower local contractors. Thi is in line with proposed Local Content Bills being considered by the Senate.

Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu told the National Assembly Joint Committees on Local Content yesterday in Abuja that the N5 billion categorisation was part of measures being put in place to strengthen local content laws.

According to him, contracts that are not more than N5 billion are to be exclusively for indigenous firms  for bidding, award and execution.

But when asked by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Teslim Folarin, whether the new policy would affect construction firms like Julius Berger, the Minister said proper categorisation would be done to determine that.

According to him, Julius Berger is more or less an indigenous foreign firm going by high  involvement of Nigerians in its operations and management over the years, which makes its categorisation a bit difficult.

He added that other measures like registration of expatriates and proof of valid residence permit are also part of recommendations in the local content development bill.

Earlier, Folarin said the three bills being considered are very important to the development of the oil and gas industry, which is one of the most viable sectors of the economy.

He explained that the bills, among other things, seek to consolidate on the gains of the implementation of local content component in the oil and gas industry, pursuant to the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, 2010.

“One of the bills also seeks to provide the needed legal framework for the implementation of local content in other key sectors of the economy, including power, ICT, Construction and Transportation. The enactment of this Bill, will no doubt, provide the legal basis for the enforcement of the Presidential Evecutive Order No. 5 of  February 5, 2018, which seeks to improve local content procurement with regards to science, engineering and technology components of the economy,” Folarin said.