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Jonathan Inaugurates Nigerian Content Governing Council

Source: EWACHE AJEFU, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF - thewillnigeria.com

ABUJA, Sept 04, (THEWILL) - President Goodluck Jonathan Friday at the Presidential Villa inaugurated the Governing Council of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.

President Jonathan who spoke at the event directed members of the Governing Council to enforce strict compliance of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act and ensure that Nigerian Content counts in all operations of the Oil and Gas Industry.

He explained that the NOGICD Act he signed into law on April 22, 2010, which created NCDMB, with a professional Governing Council could propel Nigeria into becoming one of the world's industrialized economies in the next decade.

According to Mr. President, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which will soon be passed by the National Assembly will restructure the regulatory framework of the Oil and Gas industry and introduce improved funding and commercial focus for the industry, while the Nigerian Gas master-plan will drive increased investment in the energy sector.

He stressed that Nigeria needed to urgently address the issue of local capacity of the industry so as to take advantage of expected investments and guard against the repeat of past mistakes where most goods and services used in the industry were imported while facilities that were built in the country suffered from inadequate after sales service support.

According to him, "we must ensure that our implementation efforts do not fail.

We must be consistent and unwavering in order to transform our industry from an importer of goods and services to an industry that can source its key inputs from local resources; an industry that will generate manufacturing activities to support its operations and employment; an industry that will domicile significant proportions of its derivatives and trap commensurate revenue in Nigeria to develop the fabrication yards, shipyards and manufacturing plants to industrialize our economy."

He added that "expenditure in the industry must transcend returns in terms of revenue, but also translate to local capacity, increased technological growth, jobs for Nigerians, capacity to operate and maintain assets and develop critical facilities and infrastructure to support performance of work scopes in Nigeria."

He further directed the Governing Council of NCDMB to develop partnerships between local and international companies, government and private sector and create linkage between sectors of the economy, local banks and global financing institutions to create the enabling environment for capacity building.

He said, "There must be developments in our supply chain management, the integration of government programs such as SME programs, training programs by the PTDF, Industrial Training Fund, NOTAP, to build local capabilities across board and transfer the technological experience inherent in the oil and gas industry to other sectors like transportation construction, telecom, Power, Defence."

President Jonathan also charged the NCDMB to create access to funds by leveraging the reforms in the banking sector to design interventions that support local companies with low interests and long term loans.

He also asked the Board to sensitize indigenes of oil bearing communities on government's genuine intentions to empower their youths, protect the environment, secure lives and property and ensure their participation in economic activities to maintain the tranquil environment required to support productive industry activities.

He also challenged Nigerians to face the challenge of participating in the Oil and Gas Industry.

He said, "We must change our mindset from the burden of thinking that our people cannot do great things, to embrace a new can-do spirit in pursuit of high quality and global standards of performance required in the oil and gas industry.

"We must embrace the same can-do spirit that has seen our Telecom and Banking sector reforms succeed; the same can-do spirit that will see us complete our Power sector and Electoral reform agenda successfully."

He said his administration carefully selected members of the NCDMB Governing Council, whom he described as a highly professional team and had high expectation that they will succeed in ensuring that the intendments of the Nigerian Content Act come to fruition.

The Governing Council has a four-year tenure and is chaired by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Other members are Mr. Shawley Coker, representing Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Bekee, representing the Technical Regulator of the industry and Dr J.T Dawha, representing Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

Others are Engr. A.O Ajibola, representing Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria, Prof. Mike Onyekonwu, representing Nigerian Content Consultative Forum, Dr Sani Shuaibu representing the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Fola Daniel, representing National Insurance Commission and Engr. Ernest Nwapa, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB and Secretary of the Governing Council.

In her speech, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke noted that effectively implementation of the Act will ensure that the Nigerian economy will within the next four years retain over $10bn out of an average annual Oil & Gas Industry expenditure of $20bn compared to the current sum of less than $4bn.

She added that successful implementation of the Act will create over 30,000 direct employment and training opportunities considering the scale of activities to be domiciled in Nigeria.

Other expected growth of the economy will also include the establishment of three to four new pipe mills to service the demands of the industry and other ancillary manufacturing plants for coatings, valves, fittings and components.

Allison-Madueke also expressed hope that the industry will witness the development of one or two dockyards and increased utilization of existing shipyards for maintaining marine vessels operating in Nigeria which currently sail out for their maintenance and dry docking.

She said there would also be the "transformation of ownership profile of marine assets supporting industry activity from a current ratio of 20 Nigerian-owned as against 280 Foreign-owned vessels to a more equitable ratio of 180:120."

The Minister also expressed hope that the NC Act will lead to the integration of indigenes and businesses residing in the Oil producing areas into the mainstream of industry economic activity.

The act will also help to capture of over 50 – 70 per cent of banking services, insurance risk placements, and legal services supporting industry activities and transactions, she added.