– Set to pass bill extending Local Content Act to Construction, Power before end of 2017
Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Local Content have commended the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for its diligent implementation of the Nigerian Content Act and speedy execution of its headquarters building project as well as the Polaku pipemill project.
The lawmakers stated this while on an oversight visit to the Board’s premises and project sites in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State penultimate week.
Speaking at the Polaku pipemill site, Chairman, House Committee on Local Content, Hon. Emmanuel Ekon said the location met all the requirements for citing such a facility, including proximity to natural gas needed to generate electricity for the plant’s operations, access to road for transporting raw materials and finished products to desired destinations.
Hon. Ekon dismissed insinuations that the Board was acting beyond its mandate in promoting the pipemill, noting that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act empowered the Board to amongst others, woo investors and prepare locations, especially difficult terrains to convince prospective investors to commit their funds.
In his remarks after the committee members toured the Board’s headquarters building project, Ekon promised the readiness of the House to pass the bill extending the Nigerian Content Act to other key sectors of the economy for Nigerians to enjoy the benefits.
He said: “The first reading has been passed and we are fine-tuning it. I believe the bill will be passed this year.”
Hon. Ekon listed sectors to be covered by the extension to include power, construction and ICT, stressing that violations of Local Content were more prevalent in the construction sector than in oil and gas.
He also lauded the Board and its main contractor, Megastar for the speedy execution of the building project. In his words: “I was here when this land was acquired in 2015. Then this place was bareground. It’s not even up to two years and 8 floors are already standing. We need to project 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 this kind of companies.”
Welcoming lawmakers at the NCDMB headquarters, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote explained 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 through job creation.
He restated the Board’s willingness to assist any local or foreign investor seeking to develop facilities, noting that the Nigerian Content Act provided that goods manufactured in-country would always get patronized by the industry ahead of foreign alternatives.
On the Polaku pipemill, the NCDMB boss said the Board had completed the sand filling of the site, conducted Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and embarked on the construction of the access road. He added that the Board entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Titan Steel of China, who is expected to commence construction and complete the project by 2019.
Speaking on the establishment of modular refineries in oil producing states as being promoted 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 importation of equipments.
The NCDMB boss further solicited support from the lawmakers to ensure that indigenous operating companies and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) comply fully with the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act.