The House of Representatives has unveiled plans to strengthen the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act and help to create an enabling environment for partnership and business growth.
Chairman of House Committee on Local Content, Mr. Asita O Asita, made this disclosure recently at an investment forum hosted by Shell and the United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI), as part of their effort to forge partnership among businesses in the two countries.
He explained that the Nigerian Content Development is a programme that is close to the heart of the committee and that they want to see Nigeria move from being a consuming nation to a producing nation.
“We import almost everything, and this local content board is the catalyst required to drive manufacturing and participation of Nigerians in the manufacturing sector. We wish we had started much earlier,” he said.
Asita assured that the committee would support the policy in ensuring more indigenous participation in the Nigeria oil and gas industry.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, Mr. Ernest Nwapa, commended Shell for the “sustained interest in the Nigeria/UKTI investment forum.
“Since the first summit, we’ve seen a significant number of companies participating at the event and we hope they will focus on areas that will improve their capability. It is good to see that other International Oil Companies are beginning to follow Shell’s example by organising similar engagements,” he said.
Nwapa said since the Nigerian Content Law was passed three years ago, the nation oil industry has not been the same again, adding that so many milestones have been achieved.
He lauded the huge support the board had received both from the executive and legislative arms of government which according to him, had boosted its effectiveness in regulating local content development and enforcing compliance of the law by operators in the nation oil and gas sector.
Nigeria, he said, would soon join the league of big industrialised and producing nations when the industrial parks being planned by the board comes on stream.
Nwapa, explained that the board would collaborate with major operators, service companies and relevant state governments to build industrial parks to support operations of the industry and help achieve service efficiency through shared services.
He listed other benefits of the industrial park concept to include the reduction of start-up investment cost for new business, stakeholders’ collaboration and industry commitment to utilise manufactured products from the parks.
The parks are expected to host manufacturing activities driven by the oil and gas industry demand, and service other sectors of the economy as they grow organically into integrated industrial zones.
Welcoming participants, Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, Chike Onyejekwe, said Shell is committed to further developing local content in Nigeria.
Last year, Shell companies in Nigeria awarded contracts worth $2.4 billion to Nigerian companies, one billion dollar more than the amount in 2011. “Local content is good for Nigeria and for the business and we’re determined to raise the game,” he added.
Information from National Mirror was used in this report.