The newly appointed Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote assumed office on Monday at the Board’s headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, pledging to use the implementation of Nigerian Content to support President Muhammed Buhari administration to create jobs and upscale the capacity and skills of Nigerians in the Oil and Gas Industry.

The Executive Secretary, whose former positions included General Manager, Business and Government Relations, Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria, Local Content Manager, Shell C&P Global and General Manager, Nigerian Content Development, commended the management and staff of the Board for the huge achievements they recorded in the past six years in the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act.

He however, noted that the urgent task before the Board would be to review its activities and implementation process and evolve new strategies. According to him, “the next step is that we are going to take stock and ask ourselves, how have we implemented the Act, where have we made progress and where do we need to change our tact and strategies. How have we been able to achieve some of the targets set out in the schedule, where are we in each of those categories and what are the big ones we need to focus on to move to the next level?”

Admitting that the oil and gas industry is facing challenges, particularly the sharp drop in crude oil price, reduction in activities and inability to fund new projects, Wabote promised to lead the Board to find prospects in the circumstances, adding “that it is in times like this that opportunities are created because you ask yourself, what can we do differently?”

He also hinted that the Board will extend its focus to indigenous operating companies, noting that the Board’s remit goes beyond monitoring international oil companies to include the midstream and some part of the downstream segments of the industry. He emphasized that the Board would look at the entire oil and gas spectrum to see how to create opportunities for Nigerians, support vendors and assist them to deliver optimal value for the country.

Reacting to the erroneous impression that NCDMB is responsible for the protracted contracting cycle, Wabote insisted that the Board would not abdicate its roles in the bid process as had been canvassed in some quarters, tasking operators and service companies to play their part to address the challenge.

He explained further that “I have been on the other side and I can confirm that the hue and cry about delays in contracting cycle is not just on the part of NCDMB. The operators and contractors have to clean their tables if they want things to be done differently.”

He also dismissed insinuations that his background would influence him to unduly favour operating companies in the implementation of Nigerian Content, saying ,“I am now a government official and government has its procedure and processes that we must implement and we will implement the Nigerian Content Law to the letter. That is the objective with which I am taking this office. I am accountable to people that put me here.”

The scribe also commended the former Acting Executive Secretary, Mr. Patrick Daziba for the high sense of duty exhibited during the period he acted and solicited the cooperation of management and staff to deliver on the Board’s mandate.

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