Buhari Inaugurates 17-Story Nigerian Content Tower

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President Mohammadu Buhari on Thursday inaugurated the 17-storey headquarter building of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board in Bayelsa.

The president said the completion of the Nigerian Content Tower is a key achievement for the nation’s local content drive. While pledging his administration’s commitment to infrastructural development across the country, Buhari said the government will focus on finishing projects delivered by local contractors and technology that create jobs for Nigerian.

 “With the commissioning of this project, I want to highlight that we have put in place a landmark of reference in the Niger Delta to reflect long lasting legacies that signpost the years of oil and gas exploitation and I assure you that there is more to come,’’ he said.

The President said he was delighted that thousands of direct and indirect jobs were created during the execution of the project in addition to the various business opportunities.

‘‘This commissioning brings to the fore the importance of local content in all activities of our national life especially with the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

‘‘I believe strongly in local production and patronage of our goods and services as one of the surest ways to empower our citizens and give them viable opportunities to excel in their chosen professions and business endeavours.

‘‘That is why two of the Executive Orders issued under our government are related to enforcing local content in public procurement and contracts to further replicate the successes being realized in the oil and gas industry.

‘‘Local Content and Self Reliance are key principles of the recently approved 2.3 trillion Naira National Economic Sustainability Plan.

“The plan is aimed at the promotion of local production, local services, local innovation, and the use of local materials,’’ he said.

Speaking further, the President commended the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the Chairman and members of the Governing Council, as well as the management and staff of the Nigerian Content Board for the achievement.

He said, “The edifice we are commissioning today is a befitting birthday gift as you mark your 10th-year anniversary as a regulator and developer of local content in the oil and gas industry.

‘‘I am also pleased that this project has been delivered by local contractors supported by other local engineering and project consultants. We must all be proud that we finished what we started.

‘‘I want to thank you for being part of this historic moment even as I use this opportunity to thank the people of Bayelsa and congratulate them as the proud host of this landmark project in the heart of the Niger Delta.

The president directed the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to inaugurate the NCDMB Conference Centre, 10MW Power Plant and the 1000-seater Conference Centre on his behalf.

In his remarks, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timpre Sylva appreciated the President and Federal Executive Council for timely approval and support in making the project a success.

Sylva noted that the completion of the project is a key achievement in the portfolio of priorities given to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources under the Next Level Agenda.

He said, “The inauguration of this building is symbolic in many ways: It shows that Mr. President is keen to see infrastructural development in every part of the country. “It shows that skyscrapers and other laudable infrastructures can be built in the Niger Delta.

It shows that indigenous contractors can perform wonders when given the right opportunities It shows that the people of Bayelsa and indeed the entire Niger Delta are receptive to development; and it shows that Nigerian Content is here to stay.

I want to highlight that part of this symbolic development is the construction of the 10MW gas-fired power plant in partnership with NAOC JV to service the new headquarters building and the NCDMB industrial park under construction.

“This gas-fired power plant is just a tip of the iceberg as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources under the direction of Mr President is set to unlock the opportunities in our gas resources instead of just quoting the statistics of our gas endowments every year.

“Our declaration of Year 2020 as the Year of Gas is no fluke. Throughout the year 2020 and beyond, our focus on gas development will be significant: from export gas to domestic gas, from LPG to CNG to mini-LNG, from power to fertilizer.

“We will devote our energy to unlock the gas below the ground and eliminate the wastage at the flares. I call on local and international investors to join us in these efforts for the benefit of all.

He congratulated the Swali Community, the government and people of Bayelsa State, the construction company – Megastar, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB and his management team for the successful completion of the project.

He said, “We are proud to announce that Nigerian Content is here to stay for the good of the country and for the prosperity of our people.”

Also speaking, Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, disclosed 95 per cent of the manpower used in the construction of the edifice was locally sourced.

Wabote said: “We put a lot of thought into the design of the building not only to bring out a magnificent edifice but we also focused on the subsequent usage covering the ergonomics, acoustics, security, safety, energy efficiency and maintenance.

“Some of the specifics include the use of fire-retardant façade, intelligent Building Management System that cuts down power consumption by 25 per cent, the provision of an over-hanging cradle on the roof slab to clean the four sides of the building, zero voice transmission through the walls of the conference centre, scissors design in the ramp of the multi-level car park to avoid head-on collision, and many others too numerous to mention.

“All these have been done using the dexterity of a local Nigerian architect, Walter Odusote and other Nigerian consultants to design and supervise the project execution. The main contractor, MEGASTAR is Nigerian with several other Nigerian sub-contractors that worked day and night to deliver this world-class building with impressive safety statistics.

Continuing, Wabote said, “The material used is 76% Nigerian content with the tiles, electrical cables, granite, and many other building materials produced in Nigeria. The manpower used for services and labour is over 95% Nigerian content. The skills transferred to the local workforce in the construction of a high-rise building has been unprecedented.

“We are proud of the end-to-end thinking that went into the design and execution of this project which is typical of what we do in the Nigerian Content Board. That is why we also partnered NAOC JV to provide the 10MW gas-powered plant to provide reliable power supply to the new headquarters building.”

In his goodwill address, Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri, said the NCDMB’s 17-storey building, not only significantly improves the aesthetics of Yenagoa city and profoundly advances its landscape, it also fully aligned with the Urban Renewal policy of his administration and it represents a useful benchmark to set our targets as a state against.

He noted that it was worth mentioning that the landmark project was executed by an indigenous construction company.

He said: “I am pleased to also hear that the 10 megawatts Power Plant of the Tower which was constructed by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), will ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to the Tower and also to “the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park being developed by the Board at Emeyal and some select structures in the state.

“Such carefully thought-through and integrated project crafting marks an important milestone in the way to go in developing a country we can all be proud of. The COVID-19 outbreak is a global public health crisis, forcing the world to think in creative and interdependent ways.

“One of the consequences of this pandemic is that this inauguration is virtual. This is the new normal. We are living in interesting times.

“The world as we know it is fast evolving. To successfully navigate the uncertain times that we face, collaboration and teamwork is inevitable. Close cooperation between different tiers of government is essential so that we can create a strong direction for development. We must be more deliberate and inclined to work across party lines.”

By Peace Obi

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