At OGTAN, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Engineer Simbi Wabote bares it all to OER on the journey so far in driving the local content policy in the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry.

OER: How would you rate the local content policy in Nigeria? How far have we gone and what do we need to do to make it better?

 I think we have done very well as a country. Like I said in my speech, I went round this country inspecting facilities myself. While I was on the other side I didn’t know that Nigerians have really invested in capacity development. So I think without missing words, we have done tremendously well but we still have a long way to go because in the oil and gas business, technology changes on a daily basis and we need to catch up with some of these technologies; so there is potential for improvement.

There are some challenges no doubt.  Can you identify some and suggest way to tackle same?

 Of course we know what the challenges are.  . You also have the almighty challenge of power situation in the country which is adding to the cost of production and provision of services for the oil and gas industry.

But the government is working very hard because they have also recognised this and they are working very hard on a daily basis to address most of these challenges and I think with time, we will overcome them.

But in terms of figures, how much do you think the Nigerian nation has saved so far in our attempt at building domestic capacity?

 On a yearly basis, the industry itself spent almost $20billion year in, year out.  When oil price was good and production was good and before the enactment of the Act, only 3% of that was retained in country. But today I can confidently tell you that $5billion out of that $20billion plus is saved in Nigeria through the intervention of the local content Act

What’s your message for OGTAN?

 I think my message to OGTAN is to become a lot more professional, to raise the bar.  It is to be abreast with the requirements of the oil and gas industry in such a way that those training programmes can help the industry. And most importantly, to train Nigerians on how they can gain access to job and become entrepreneurs.

 

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