For Nigerians and the local economy to benefit from the multi-billion dollar investments expected to flow into the country after the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, concerted efforts must be made to develop Nigerian Content, Ernest Nwapa, the executive secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, has said.
Speaking at the panel session organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria at the just concluded Offshore Technology Conference in Houston Texas, United States, Nwapa said there was an urgent need to expand discussions around the proposed legislation beyond the fiscal terms.
He warned that failure to sufficiently domicile the service and manufacturing ends of industry operations would mean that investments would flow into the country, but take flight in the form of overseas procurement of equipment used for operations and remuneration of expatriate personnel working on the projects.
He explained that “It is expected that when PIB is passed, it would result in massive investment flow and those investments will yield revenue for Nigeria. But what we are looking for is a kind of impact that can give us employment on top of the revenue.
“That type of impact would only come from the investments that result in domiciliation. It is a good thing we have had a three-years head-start in the implementation of the Local Content Act which has enabled us create some capacities in Nigeria such that as the PIB is being passed and investments are coming, we would then have jobs arising from the investments being executed locally.”
The Executive Secretary also canvassed for industry support for the Board’s initiatives especially the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industrial Park Scheme and the establishment of a new pipe mill to support the existing SCC Mill in Abuja.
He explained that when the initiatives are successful, Nigerians will reap immense benefits from the PIB as more industry activities would be domiciled.
He added that “It is a good thing to get the investments in because we need to increase our revenue intake from oil production, but the real endgame for us is to ensure that when as we are getting revenues, we are getting our people to work.
“Government agencies can only employ a few thousands, but the real employment can come from commercial activities that would arise from our preparedness to expand operations.”
Throwing further light on the relationship between the Nigerian Content Act and the PIB, the Executive Secretary said there was an urgent need for the big multi-nationals and other companies operating in Nigeria to encourage the establishment of facilities where components of industry equipment can be manufactured locally.
He added that local manufacturing holds the key to creating jobs in the oil and gas industry.