The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, has said local firms flout the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act more than international oil companies (IOCs).
He is surprised that indigenous operators who benefited from the Act are circumventing it.
The NCDMB chief spoke with reporters in Lagos at the weeked.
On the forthcoming Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF 2019) holding in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital on April 4 and 5, he said the fair had as theme ‘Maximising investments in the Nigerian oil and gas industry for the benefits of the Nigerian people.’
On the level of compliance with the Act by the IOCs, National Oil Company and the indigenous oil companies, Wabote said, among the three, the IOCs have the highest level of compliance.
He said: “I can categorically tell you that in terms of compliance from where I sit, the IOCs are the most compliant with the NOGIC Act to a large extent compared to the indigenous players. If there are people who flout the Act, they are the indigenous players who have benefitted from the Act.
“When you put the measure of compliance between the IOCs and the indigenous operators, I see the clear tendency by the indigenous operators to want to circumvent the provisions of the Act, which honestly to me is an irony. People who benefitted from a process are now the ones who are actively working to see how they can circumvent the Act.
“In terms of compliance, if you compare the international oil companies with the NOC as well as the indigenous players, the IOCs are on top of compliance because their corporate governance structure is also very strict because they also go through international scrutiny, so they try as much as possible to comply.”
On the strategy adopted to promote compliance, Wabote said: “Our strategy has always been a pragmatic approach to implementation of the Act. We don’t read the Act like a bible. We have to compare between existing capabilities and capacities and ask; are they available at all and if they are, do they address a particular challenge? When do we build capacity up? Are we going to build them in a couple of years’ time? Don’t forget that oil and gas is the mainstay of our economy and if we don’t manage it properly, we will shut down businesses as well as our future as a country.
“So, we use a pragmatic approach in terms of implementing the Act itself. And we made tremendous progress compared to other sectors, be it construction or information technology. Today, every other sector wants to model its local content implementation to that of oil and gas sector which we are also actively supporting them to do.”