Our plans for local content devt, by NCDMB chief

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Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Executive Secretary Simbi Wabote, an engineer, who has just marked 100 days in office, unveils the Board’s plan to maximise  local content development. EMEKA UGWUANYI reports.

Simbi Wabote was appointed  the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) on September 26, 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari, after spending 26 years in the Shell Group of companies in Nigeria and abroad. He held various positions in engineering services, contracting & procurement, local content management, external and community affairs.

He said he was committed to running an open and transparent organisation, and to be upfront with information on the activities, programmes and challenges of the NCDMB.

“I am determined to remove opaqueness, rumours and insinuations often associated with oil and gas establishments,” he said.

He noted that with the crash in crude oil prices since 2014, there have been very few activities as operators and the government were finding it difficult to fund new projects while existing contracts were being renegotiated downwards. “But without ongoing and new projects, there hardly can be Nigerian Content. These challenges notwithstanding, I took on this job with the conviction that the low-price regime presents the Board and the entire industry with a wonderful opportunity to find ways of doing things differently and better,” he said.

 

Achievements and future plans

Baseline study – the Board with the support of its consultants, he said, has started conducting a baseline study on Nigerian Content implementation, to review how well its act have been implemented in the past six years. “It is to review where we made progress and where we need to up the game. Also we have developed a Community Content guideline, which provides pragmatic steps for incorporating and engaging community contractors as a critical delivery point for Nigerian content development,” he said.

“This guideline,” he continued: “was borne out of the necessity to boost peace and security in the Niger-Delta and address the lingering squabbles between host communities 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.

President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Petroleum Industry Roadmap on October 27, 2016 to revitalise the oil and gas industry. “A key component of the Roadmap is to “deploy 30 per cent of business opportunities from operating companies to communities. The Board’s Community Content Guideline sets out strategies to realise this target. Our Capacity Development Initiatives are in aligment with Roadmap,” he stated.

 

Contracting Cycle

He said: “On resumption, I took on the lingering issue of protracted contracting cycle in the industry. With support from my team we have 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 & commercial evaluation and issuance of Nigerian Content certificates. It is my believe 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 to other OPEC countries.”

Others measures according to him, include fast-tracking implementation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Parks Scheme (NOGAPS), Polaku Pipemill and accelerated disbursement of the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF), which is nearly $700 million to deserving oil and gas service companies as well as the reconstitution of the joint committee with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on local content development in shipbuilding.

“The Board also has concluded HR process review and institute performance driven work, set clear targets such as develop 5-year strategic road map,  developing Oil and Gas Parks in Ogbia, Bayelsa State; Oguta in Imo State; Okoyong in Cross Rivers State and Ikwe-Odio in Akwa Ibom. Each of these five parks is expected to create about 2,000 direct and indirect jobs and link community entrepreneurs to the oil and gas supply chain. The Board will also hold Nigerian Content Opportunities Fair, Research & Development Fair, and expand compliance oversight to midstream and downstream,” he said.

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