Ernest-NwapaNigerian Content Development Management Board (NCDMB), has expressed concern over the low level of manufacturing to support the country’s oil and gas sector.

Executive Secretary of the board, Ernest Nwapa, said at the launch of the AOS Orwell Operational Base in Port Harcourt recently, that the board has plans in place to encourage more manufacturing in the oil and gas sector to drive the local content policy.

He stated that Nigerian Content was not about making oil and gas service delivery an exclusive preserve for Nigerian companies, but to enhance the development of the sector.

Nwapa noted that with structured mergers, alliances or partnerships between Nigerian and foreign companies the industry is better able to harness technology acquisition, local content requirements and people development into real local value creation and domiciliation of services in Nigeria which demonstrates the confidence AOS Orwell shareholders have with the Nigerian Content policy assuring that facilities within Nigeria are given first consideration in any work emanating from the Nigeria oil and gas industry.

He added that this investment has yielded benefits, as AOS Orwell is one of the main contractors on the Egina project – a $15 billion offshore investment in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Content Chief Executive emphasized government’s firm believes in any entity benefiting from work in the Nigerian oil and gas industry to develop infrastructure within the country for enduring service delivery.

“The launch of AOS Operational Base is, therefore, coming at a time NCDMB is promoting the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industrial Park Scheme, (NOGIPS) as the concept of the industrial park is to spur small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to grow their capability in manufacturing through partnerships with multinationals and original equipments manufacturers (OEMs)”, Nwapa said.

He mentioned that in a bid to address these challenges the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke in her capacity  as Chairman of NCDMB Governing Council directed Management of the Board to establish industrial parks in oil producing communities to facilitate the manufacture of Made-in-Nigeria goods for the oil and gas industry, as the scheme will commence its pilot phase in three locations with benefits to create over 3,000 jobs per location, alleviate employment pressure on oil companies, technology and skills acquisition and active participation of community entrepreneurs in oil and gas supply chain.

He, however, bemoaned the unemployment issue among youths as one of the biggest challenges in the nation despite increased activities in the oil and gas sector.

Hinting that the low level of manufactured goods supporting the oil and gas industry is also another source of concern in the Board’s effort to maximize in-country value addition from Nigerian Content implementation.

The Chairman of AOS Orwell, Azad Shivdasani enumerated the operational strides of the company to include one of its core activities in the early 90s being down hole fishing thus making them leaders in Nigeria with over 80 per cent market share.

He emphasized that consistency, unperturbed cycles of downturn, perseverance, setting values and not compromising these values in good and bad times were the underlying principles that kept the company above board.

“Another milestone in a very long journey was the firm’s believe in the Nigerian Content philosophy as it set out to take up the challenge that things can be done in Nigeria, with tremendous commitment AOS Orwell succeeded and is bold to say it can be done in Nigeria and we are proud of it”, Shivdasani asserted.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of AOS Orwell, Femi Omotayo said that Nigerian Content policy has given the firm an opportunity to earn from its investment with a clear focus on training, which has helped the company form a proper strategy to develop Nigerians.


Information from The Guardian was used in this report.