By Oge Obi
As part of efforts to grow the local economy, community contractors in the oil and gas industry will now enjoy a 30 per cent interest rate waiver from funds accessed from the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCI Fund). The fund which is available to conventional oil and gas service companies at 8 per cent will be accessed by the community contractors at 5 per cent.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote who disclosed this during an interactive session recently organised by the Board in Abuja for civil societies organisations (CSOs), stressed that contractors in that category execute small scale projects and would not pay the same interest rate as the conventional oil and gas service companies.
Stating that the concession for the community contractors was in line with the Board’s Community Content Guideline and provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act Wabote said that it is intended to promote the participation of genuine community contractors in oil and gas projects; integration of communities in the industry value chain as part of the strategy to grow the local economy and promote peace and tranquillity in the communities.
Revealing that the disbursement of the Content Fund to oil and gas companies will start this year, the
Executive Secretary said that the loan will be disbursed directly to qualified companies by the Bank of Industry (BOI). And that the repayment period is for five years at eight percent interest rate.
According to Wabote, the NCI Fund will cater for manufacturing, project financing and equipment purchase. Stressing that the key consideration for granting loan for any project to be the impact it would make.
Disclosing the Board’s plan to establish a Nigerian Content Bank, Wabote said the financial institution will manage the utilisation of the Content Fund. “Within the next four years, we will have established the Bank and established a good governance process. We will have key stakeholders, including the civil society as part of the Advisory Board to guard against misapplication,” he stated.
Appreciating the important roles played by the civil society organizations in the society, the Executive Secretary said the Board will work with Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to develop a sustainable model that will guide the participation of CSOs in Nigerian Content implementation.
In his goodwill message, the Director of Communications at NEITI, Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji commended the Board’s engagement with civil society organizations. Adding that it is a confirmation of NCDMB’s disposition to openness, integrity and corporate governance. He noted that CSOs could assist the Board to push the boundaries of implementation and carry out advocacy campaigns.
Orji described the Board’s plan to establish Nigerian Content Bank as a novel idea that should be realized. He further advised the Board to educate Nigerians sufficiently on the operations of the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF), sanction companies that fail to remit one percent value of their contracts to the NCDF and give incentives to those that comply.
The civil society groups that participated at the event include Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Democratic Action Group, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Centre for Policy among others.