Content Act to Cover Power, Other Sectors, say Reps

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The House of Representatives has said it’s work on the bill that would extend the Nigerian Content Act to other key sectors of the economy such as power, construction, information communication technology and telecommunications is to enable Nigerians enjoy the sectors.

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Local Content led by its Chairman, Hon. Emmanuel Ekon, stated this when the committee paid  an oversight visit to the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board’s (NCDMB) premises and project sites in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The Committee chairman said the first reading on the bill to extend the Nigerian Content Act to other key sectors has been passed, adding that the House members currently are fine tuning it. “I believe the bill will be passed this year,” Ekon added. He noted that violation of Local Content Act was more prevalent in the construction sector than the oil and gas sector.

The committee commended the NCDMB for its diligent implementation of the Nigerian Content Act,  speedy execution of its headquarters building and the Polaku pipemill projects located in Bayelsa State.

Speaking at the Polaku pipemill site, Ekon stated that the location met all requirements for citing such a facility including proximity to natural gas needed to generate electricity for the plant’s operations, access to road, which is a driver for transporting raw materials and finished products.

He dismissed insinuations that the Board was acting beyond its mandate by promoting the pipemill, insisting that the Nigerian 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.

After tour of the projects, 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. He also hailed the Board and its main contractor, MegaStar, for the speedy execution of the building project.

“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 has invested resources in machines, personnel and construction equipment. Nigerians, multinationals and the Federal Government should patronise these kinds of companies,” he said

NCDMB Executive Secretary, Simbi Wabote, in his welcome address, explained to the Committee that the Board’s mandate hinged on promoting, monitoring and evaluating Nigerian Content compliance in the oil and gas industry and serving as a catalyst to attract and drive needed investments so as to grow the economy and create jobs.

Wabote 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 patronised by the industry ahead of foreign alternatives.

On the Polaku pipemill, he stated that the Board had completed the sand filling of the site, conducted environmental impact assessment (EIA) and embarked on the construction of the access road, adding that the Board entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Titan Steel of China, who are expected to commence construction and complete the project by 2019.

On the modular refineries in oil producing states – being encouraged by the Federal Government,  Wabote stated that the Board’s initiatives seek to ensure that the refineries get fabricated and assembled in Nigeria as against being imported from overseas. He also solicited support from the legislature to ensure that indigenous operating companies and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) comply fully with the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act.

Source: The Nation

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