OrderPaperToday – The Senate on Tuesday passed for second reading a bill to amend the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010, seeking to streamline and strengthen the process for obtaining expatriate quota to close the gap for current leakages and manipulation by foreign companies
This is contained in the proposed Section 33 of the act, sponsored by Senator Teslim Folarin (APC, Oyo Central).
While reading the lead principles of the bill, Folarin stated that it will amend 38 Sections of the extant Act and introduce six new sections by making them align with industry best practices.
He said: “You will recall that before this Act came into force in 2019, over ninety percent of the $20 billion spent yearly in the Nigerian oil and gas industry was repatriated abroad.
“This was because a large chunk of the contracts were executed by foreign companies and in foreign facilities. With only few indigenous players and facilities participating in the contracting process in the industry, Nigerian content was less than five percent.
“There has seen a boost in the promotion of indigenous participation and the fostering of technological transfer as reflected in appreciable local growth. Only recently, one of Nigeria’s indigenous oil servicing firms established a 100 million fabrication plant in the Niger Delta region.
“The implementation of the Nigerian Content Fund by the Board has also facilitated the provision of capital and financial support to several indigenous companies.”
Speaking on the proposed amendment, he said: “Section 11 would give powers to the Minister of Petroleum to review the minimum target level for Nigerian content set in the schedule where the level is considered beyond the capacity of Nigerian companies by the board.
“The Proposed Section 33 of the Act would streamline and strengthen the process for obtaining expatriate quota to close the gap for current leakages and manipulation by foreign companies.
“Amendments to Sections 37, 38 and 39 in the bill are to improve the provisions relating to research and development and to ensure proper implementation, while Section 76 is proposed to give the Governing Council of the Board the role of Superintending over the conditions of service of employees of the board.
“Section 81 was also introduced to empower the Senate to screen and approve nomination of the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) before confirmation.”
Senator Olamilekan Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West) noted that the amendment is long overdue.
“Now that we have succeeded in trying to see that local content has come to stay in the oil and gas sector, it is time for us to move to other line sectors which include manufacturing, ICT, construction and other sectors of the economy.
“The main objective of this particular Act, is for two things: for domestication and domiciliation. That is the reason ab initio, the local content was set-up,” the lawmaker added.
After scaling second reading, the bill was referred by the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Local Content for further legislative work and expected to revert in four weeks.