By Adewale Sanyaolu
To ensure the total implementation of the Act setting up the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the board has disclosed plans to begin enforcement in the downstream and midstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.
Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, announced the plans during a media briefing on his 100 days in office, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, yesterday.
Wabote explained that the focus of the board’s compliance monitoring unit was largely on the upstream sector operations of the industry, mainly because of the higher percentage of funds spent in the sub-sector.
‘‘In 2017, we have reorganised our monitoring structures and will pay much more attention to the implementation of Nigerian Content in the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry,’’ he explained.
On his achievements since assumption of office, the NCDMB boss announced that the board will conduct a baseline study on Nigerian Content implementation as part of measures to review how well the board has been able to implement the Act in the past six years in order to identify where it made progress and where it needs to up the game, adding that the project has kicked off with the support of its consultants.
He said NCDMB has developed a Community Content Guideline, which provides pragmatic steps for incorporating and engaging community contractors as a critical delivery point for Nigerian content development.
According to him, the guideline was borne out of the necessity to boost peace and security in the Niger Delta and address the lingering squabbles between host communities and operating and service companies over participation in oil and gas activities.
‘‘Sections 25, 26, 27 and 28 (1) & (2) of the Nigerian Content Act provides for the operator to maintain a level of presence in communities where projects are located. The sections also mandate participation of community entrepreneurs in activities of operations throughout projects’ life cycle,’’ he hinted.
Wabote explained that on assumption of office, he took on the lingering issue of protracted contracting cycle in the industry, adding that through the support he got from his team, the board has put in place internal performance measures to fast-track the contract processing time from NCDMB’s end.
‘‘We have committed to specific timelines for review of Nigerian Content plans, technical and commercial evaluation and issuance of Nigerian Content certificates. It is my belief that other agencies involved in the contracting cycle are working on their internal processes so that we can collectively work together to reduce the protracted contracting cycle, which has been identified as the main cause of the high cost per barrel of Nigerian crude in comparison with other OPEC countries.
“It will also help revitalise the tempo of Nigerian Content implementation as investors begin to develop more confidence in the Nigerian business environment,’’ he assured.