Members of the Senate Committee on Local Content have lauded the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for its strategic implementation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act and the steady growth in local capacities in the Oil and Gas Industry. They made the commendations at the close of the three–day capacity building workshop organized for the Senate Committee on Local Content in Accra, Ghana.

After several insightful presentations on the Board’s mandate, operation, the regulatory framework in the Nigerian Oil Industry, the journey so far and the challenges of enforcing compliance, all the eight Senators in attendance lauded NCDMB for the significant milestones  recorded, despite very many drawbacks.

Chairman Senate Committee, Senator Solomon Adeola stated that from all that he had heard and seen, the Board is fulfilling the purpose for which it was established. The Senate Minority Leader and Vice Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Godswill Akpabio as well as other Senators re-echoed the same opinion and promised to support the Board to ensure that Nigerians derive more benefits from the Oil and Gas Industry.

The Deputy Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Abiodun Olujumi underlined that the participation of two principal officers of the Senate – with six other senators clearly showed the importance the upper legislature attaches to the issue of local content in Nigeria.

In his opening speech, Sen. Adeola reminded members the purpose for creating the Senate Committee on Local Content, which includes to ensure the use of local manpower by companies operating in Nigeria; design policies that would engender the patronage of locally made goods and services; to oversight the work of NCDMB and to identify the gaps in the NOGICD Act with a view to amending it to reflect current realities. He noted that the Senate capacity building workshop was necessary to develop legislators’ understanding of NCDMB’s Mandate, the journey so far, what has been achieved, the challenges and further actions required “to ensure that Nigerians derive more benefits from the industry”.

Speaking on the topic, “Structure and Operation of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board”, Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, reaffirmed the determination of the Board to fulfil its mission “to be the catalyst for the industrialization of Nigerian oil and gas and its linkage sectors”. He acknowledged the encouraging remarks of the Senators noting that their commendations and positive feedback will act as fresh tonic to the Board in the pursuit of its strategic objective to increase Nigerian Content performance to 70 percent in the next ten years.

The workshop had many papers presentations from a cross section of professionals. The papers were followed with Panel Discussions. There were lively and extensive question and answer sessions. At the end of the workshop, the Senators unanimously agreed that there was an overwhelming need to amend the NOGICD Act to provide clarity to some vague and ambiguous expressions in the Law; to revisit the waiver provisions; to rephrase the section on penalty for effectiveness; and to undertake a holistic review and repackaging of the Act to cover other sectors of the economy and to meet current realities.

The senators also identified the urgent need to resuscitate technical and vocational education (TVE) as a vector for human capacity development. They observed that the curriculum of science, engineering and technology courses offered in Nigerian Universities and other tertiary institutions needs to be reformed and reorganized to meet requirements of the Oil and Gas Industry.

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