The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Federal Ministry of Justice are working to deepen the existing collaboration to ensure effective implementation of Nigerian Content initiatives.
Speaking at the Nigerian Content Stakeholders Workshop organised by the NCDMB for staff of the Ministry of Justice in Abuja recently, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote stated that the collaboration between the two organisations has yielded excellent results.
Such results include the Federal Ministry of Justice’s approval of fait for the prosecution of persistent defaulters of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act and the support for the establishment of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to enable the Board’s partnerships and commercial interventions.
He listed other benefits of the cooperation to include the Ministry’s review of the Draft Nigerian Content Ministerial Regulations and the Board’s sponsorship of capacity building workshops for judicial officers.
The Executive Secretary stated that the Board would not succeed in the implementation of its mandate if the Federal Ministry of Justice were not aligned with it. “If we don’t work with the Ministry to understand what we do, it will be difficult for them to support us,” he said.
He noted that the Board had organized similar workshops with the Nigerian Customs, Justices of the Supreme, Appeal and High Courts, with the intent of improving their understanding of the Nigerian Content Act, so as to get their cooperation.
He called for more assistance from the Ministry, especially in securing fait to prosecute recalcitrant defaulters of the NOGICD Act and establishment of new SPVs for the Board’s projects.
Wabote also sought the endorsement of the Ministry of Justice for the extension of the Local Content Act to other critical sectors of the economy, including Power, Construction, Rail and Information Communication Technology and the amendment of the NOGICD Act to enable NCDMB superintend over those sectors.
He advised against plans to enact a new law that would regulate Local Content in the Science and Technology sector and establish an independent agency to supervise it.
According to him, “once you establish another agency, there will be overlapping of functions, because science and technology activities overlap to the oil and gas industry. That way the atmosphere will to become uncertain and scary to investors.”
”The Ministry of Justice will play an active role in this and will need to tell those who have such plans that it is better to have Local Content under one umbrella. There will be a lot of implications if there are separate laws on Local Content,” he added.
In his address at the event, the Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr. Dayo Apata commended NCDMB for organising the workshop, which is the second in the series. He noted that the engagements had enabled the Ministry and NCDMB to understand themselves better and foster a collaborative relationship in the enforcement of Local Content in the interest of the nation’s economy.
Apata explained that the Ministry of Justice is the legal advisor of the Federal Government and ”the workshops provide its personnel with an in-depth understanding of Local Content, the achievements of the NCDMB and a clear understanding of the roles of the Ministry of Justice in the enforcement of Local Content under the existing legal framework.”
He canvassed for a pragmatic approach to Local Content implementation, harping that collaboration with key agencies of government and stakeholders was a key success factor.
He added that “the dynamics of the oil and gas industry entails collaboration. This will ensure that Local Content is integrated and progressive,” he added.
The Solicitor General challenged other agencies of government to emulate the Board’s collaborative initiatives and pragmatism, noting that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami appreciated NCDMB’s efforts in providing opportunities for the ministry’s staff to get full understanding of the Nigerian Content Act.