Nigerian Content Development and Monitory Board, NCDMB, has disclosed that over $5 billion worth of investments have been made in Nigerian yards since the signing of the Nigerian Content Bill into law by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2010.
NCDMB said that about $191 billion (N3.8 trillion) investment was now being retained in-country and hundreds of thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, sciences and technical services could be created.
NCDMB outgoing Executive Secretary, Ernest Nwapa, gave the hint yesterday, at the Nigerian Investment Forum in Houston Texas, United States, organised by NCDMB in collaboration with SweetcrudeReports and The Guardian Newspapers Limited, saying that $10 billon (N200 billion) worth of investment is being expected in the Nigeria oil and gas sector through the local content development policy between 2015 and 2016.
He hinted that over $1billion has been invested in the Nigerian oil and gas industry to create capacity and execute Nigerian Content scopes provided on the Egina deep water project.
Nwapa noted that the acquisition of key oil and gas assets and establishment of critical facilities by local and foreign investors will help guarantee the continued implementation of the Nigerian Content Act.
He stated that Nigerian investors and their partners had demonstrated their resolve for the policy to continue by building immense capacity over the past five years, acquiring hi-tech industry equipment and creating employment opportunities for thousands of young Nigerians in their assets and facilities.
Nwapa explained that “policy statements issued by the in-coming government had indicated that it will continue to support indigenous participation and Nigerian Content. It is very important that the international community gets that message clearly and that Nigerians who are investing continue to do so believing that government is a continuum and will always support them by continuing with good policies they have initiated”.
Speaking also at the event, the Chairman of the occasion and Chairman Africa, Schlumberger, Sola Oyinlola, said that Nigeria has become a force to reckon with on the petroleum industry through the support of the Nigerian Content Act.
According to him, the success of the national content agenda, with its ability to crate massive multiplier effects in other sectors of the economy that needs to diversify away from oil and gas, has influenced thought to expand the initiative into other sectors such as power and telecommunication.
Despite the success recorded so far with the scheme, Oyinlola identified the lack of in-country financial capacity to undertake big ticket transactions and inadequate infrastructure, including the deplorable state of supporting industries, for prototyping or manufacture or assemble any locally engineered solutions as major challenges facing the local content policy.
He listed the other challenges to include the lack of technical capacity, dearth of research and development institutions and culture; and the limited access to technology limiting the possibility of innovation and domestic technological creativity.
For the policy to achieve its full potentials, he stated: “The critical missing link between strategy and action must be addressed to avoid the persistent incapacitation that public policy initiatives and actions many government programmes and projects have suffered.
“The board must actively collaborate with development partners including the International Oil Companies, IOCs and multilateral agencies, to implement identified solutions to the myriad problems catalogued above. For instance, I would be curious to know how the tax payer funded Nigeria Content Development Fund, which could help solve the financial capacity constraint above is going to enable small scale enterprises to finance their joint initiatives.
“The incoming administration has its work cut out for it and the industry awaits with bated breath any new policy directions, but we are all optimistic that challenges would be tackled expeditiously to provide a new dynamic investment destination”.
Speaking on the reasons for organising the investment forum, the Editor-in-Chief of SweetcrudeReports, Hector Igbikiowubo, stated that the organizers of the event, the NCDMB, The Guardian Newspapers and SweetcrudeReports, were driven by a common objective to establish a platform for interface between oil and gas small and medium enterprises operating in Nigeria/West Africa and original equipment manufacturers operating in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
He stated: “For too long, businesses operating out of Sub-Saharan Africa attend the Offshore Technology Conference, OTC in the hope of striking a partnership or collaboration of some sort, but come up short owing to in some cases an inability to communicate their intentions in a coherent manner which takes into cognizance the peculiar operating needs – norms cum business culture of foreign climes,
“Similarly, foreign entities seeking to operate in Sub-Saharan Africa in some cases also fail to take into cognizance the peculiar business culture/operating needs of host countries”.
He noted therefore, that the forum seeks to facilitate collaboration and partnerships between seeking to expand their horizon, while providing advisory that promotes the integrity and fidelity of claims made by the parties involved.