The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has advised local engineers to take advantage of the Content Development Act by dominating the nation’s oil and gas industry before 2022.
Mr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary of the board, gave the advice at a panel discussion organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Victoria Island Branch in Lagos.
The theme of the discussion was “National Content: Achievements, Challenges and Sustainability in the Context of Dwindling Oil Price’’.
Wabote, who was represented by the board’s Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Tunde Adelana, said local engineers could successfully drive the oil and gas sector.
He identified skill gap as the reason expatriates dominated the oil and gas industry, stressing the need for skill transfer for local engineers to take over.
He, therefore, emphasised the need for local engineers to acquire needed skills to reverse the expatriates’ domination trend.
The board scribe highlighted various policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to grow opportunities for local content.
He said that in line with the policies, the board would target weak upstream and downstream areas for capacity enhancement.
“Oil and gas sector is not on live support but there is a lot for local engineers to smile about in the next five years. Before the NOGICD Act, most major engineering contracts were wholly executed outside Nigeria with less than five per cent Nigerian participation,’’ he said.
The NOGICD Act, 2010 was enacted by the National Assembly on April 22, 2010.
The Act provides for the development of Nigerian content in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, Nigerian content plan, supervision, coordination, monitoring and implementation of Nigerian content and for related matters.
Wabote explained that the board was reversing the trend by increasing the Nigerians participation to over 26 per cent.
He, therefore, advised all engineers and engineering firms to review their strategy and reinvigorate their business development teams to be better positioned to exploit these opportunities when they materialise.
During the panel discussions, Wabote identified infrastructure deficit as a major challenge that should tackled before achieving the industrialisation target.
Also speaking the Bayelsa Commissioner for Trade, Industry and Investment, Mr Kemela Okara, spoke on the need for synergy among all tiers of government to tackle the challenges of infrastructure.
“Bayelsa had to develop its own independent power source to power its turbines,’’ Okara said.
Another member of the panel, Mr Afolabi Davidson, said the focus should be on knowledge transfer to achieve the industrialisation.
Davidson, who is the Head, Nigerian Content, Learning and Development in the Delta Afrik Engineering Ltd., said about 60 per cent of oil proceeds were spent on procurement.
He said there was the need for engineers to begin to manufacture things used in the oil and gas industry “so that we can begin to industrialise our economy’’.
“If we are able to localise manufacturing, we should be able to weather the dwindling oil price,’’ Davidson said.
Earlier, Chairman, NSE, VI branch, Mr Abdulrasheed Moyosore, remarked that the society had a responsibility to equip its members on how to surmount current economic realities of the falling oil prices.
“The nation’s oil income has dwindled; So, as stakeholders, we need to create awareness among our members on what they stand to gain or lose and preparations they need to make to survive in this situation,’’ Moyosore said.
On the Nigerian Content policy, the chairman remarked that Nigeria had saved 300 billion dollars in terms of capital flight in the last 15 years.
“Before the advent of the Nigerian Content, a lot of jobs were done overseas.Today, a specific part of every contract is domiciled in Nigeria.’’
Moyosore said that millions of jobs had been created and that the NSE was concerned about sustaining the achievements and improving on the gains.