By Kenechukwu Obiajuru, Yenagoa.
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) says it has set aside the sum of $200 million for intervention funds as parts of its support grants for the growth and development of the local companies in the oil and gas sector.
Executive Secretary of the Board, Engr. Simbi Wabote, disclosed this in Yenagoa on Thursday during a capacity building programme for energy and business correspondents on “NCDMB and the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCIF)”
Represented by the Director, finance and personnel management in the board, Mr Isaac Iyalah, the executive secretary announced that 45 applications have been received for accessing the fund, which 11 have already been approved, nothing $11 million has also been released for the qualified beneficiaries.
Wabote said: “Nigerian Content Intervention Fund is a basket of funds created outside NCDMB, you will recalled that 1% of all contracts awarded in oil and gas sector is deducted by NCIF which is being manage by the board to see how intervention fund can be use to support local companies to enhance their growth and development. ”
He added: “The $200 NCI fund is a pivotal plank of NCDMB that is set up with the responsibility to implement and enforce provisions of Nigerian oil and gas industry content development act 2010, it is the practical expression of NCDMB’s efforts to institutionalize financial support for indigenous services companies operating in the oil and gas industry.”
He noted that proper operations and utilization of the fund will help reverse the unhealthy foreign dominance in the sector by empowering local businesses to thrive.
He explained that the financial cover of the Nigerian content intervention fund is a comprehensive one, which deals with contract financing for Nigerian oil services providers, contract financing for oil and gas community contractors and contract and loan refinancing for services companies that already have facilities with Nigerian banks.
According to him, the fund will empower the community contractors who before now, constrained by staggering amounts required to compete favourably win and execute profitable contracts on offer by different oil companies and also empower them as agent of wealth creation.
He disclosed that the beneficiaries will have repayment period of over five years at eight percent interest rates, desire the size of credit on offer.
The explained that the fund will serve as a social as well as economic development tool that will create sustained impact in boosting local manufacturing, and create jobs to enhance local technical capacity, as well as igniting economic growth in the local communities of the Nigerian Delta and Nigeria at large.