OrderPaperToday – Foreign firms in Nigeria will be excluded from contracts of N5billion and below if proposed amendments to the country’s local content laws sail through.

The minister of state, works and housing, Abubakar Aliyu, stated that such is an avenue to patronise indigenous firms.

He spoke at the public hearing of three local content bills at the national assembly on Tuesday.

“As part of measures being put in place to for strengthening of local content laws in the country, contracts that are not more than N5 billion are to be exclusively preserved for indigenous firms or companies for bidding, award and execution”, Aliyu said.

The chairman, Senate Committee on local content, Senator Teslim Folarin (APC, Oyo), asked if the new policy will affect construction firms like Julius Berger that have a lot of Nigerian workers.

“Julius Berger PLC is more or less, an indigenous foreign firm going by high involvement of Nigerians in its operations and management over the years which makes its categorization in this respect a bit difficult”, Folarin said in posing his question.

The minister responded that a proper categorisation of companies will be done in line with the policy.

He also said that measures like registration of expatriates and proof of valid residence permit will be recommended in the local content development bill.

At the beginning of the hearing, Senator Folarin stated that the bills are important to develop the country’s oil and gas industry as they seek to consolidate the gains of the implementation of local content component in the oil and gas industry.

He explained: “One of the bills also seeks to provide the needed legal framework for the implementation of local content in other key sectors of the economy, including power, ICT, Construction and Transportation.

“The enactment of this bill, will no doubt, provide the legal basis for the enforcement of the Presidential Executive Order No. 5 of 5th February, 2018, which seeks to improve local content procurement with regards to science, engineering and technology components of the economy”.

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