Senate probes Halliburton for alleged breach of local content law

OrderPaperToday – Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria Limited has been accused by the Senate Committee on Local Content of violating the local content act.

The Committee said the violation is in relation to the ownership structure of the company after its Managing Director (MD), Mr. Henry Oki, who appeared before the Committee on Thursday revealed that 70% of the company shares belong to American investors while just 30% is held by local, Nigerian investors.

According to the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan (APC, Lagos), the current ownership structure implies that the company is a foreign establishment despite its registration with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

“It is a foreign controlled company; whatever comes at the end of the day as profit element, 70% of that money goes out of the country and you an active participant in the local content monitoring board which stipulates that 51% must be Nigerian owned.

“So the jobs you have done this year and the years before, the profit has been shared 70-30 from the local content point of view; you have taken 70% of the money to the United States”

Another bone of contention was the issue of five subsidiary companies which the MD of Halliburton claimed were all duly registered and compliant with local content act, a claim that was doubted by the Chairman and members of the Committee.

Also, the Committee had earlier expressed deep displeasure over incomplete and illegible documents presented to the Committee by the company, hinting that the corporation was trying to hide or withhold certain information.

Defending his company, the MD of Halliburton said: “Nigerians are gainfully employed at Halliburton Nigeria. We are 97% nationalised. All the equipment’s imported into this country are permanent imports. Today I can boast of 200 Nigerians working for Halliburton.”

He added that “the 70% – 30% in a layman’s language is asset ownership”

However the Committee was dissatisfied with his response insisting that the act relating to local content provides for 51%-49% ownership in favour of Nigeria which is not the case with Halliburton.

The Chairman of the Committee also added that the company’s five subsidiaries constitute a new revelation that needs to be thoroughly investigated.

Hence, the Committee requested that all documents relating to Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria Limited and its subsidiaries be submitted to the Committee within one week.

The Committee also directed its secretary to send a letter the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) requesting details on the registration of Halliburton and its subsidiary companies in Nigeria.

Also, the Secretary was asked to forward a separate letter to the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board demanding an explanation of the premise on which Halliburton was registered as a local partner in Nigeria.

Finally, the secretary was ordered to write Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria Limited requesting a clarification on why the company has stuck to a 70-30% ownership arrangement which is against provisions of the local content law.

The meeting was adjourned till Tuesday, 16th January, 2018. The representatives of Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria Limited declined to speak to OrderPaperNG at the end of the meeting.

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