The Federal Government has called for collaboration with 54 African Countries and cross-country development with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), to grow local capacities to drive economic growth in the sub-region.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, made the call while declaring open the first Africa Local Content Roundtable, at the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) tower in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Thursday.
Our Correspondent reports that this is the maiden Africa Local Content Roundtable, hosted by the NCDMB headquarters in Yenagoa.
He cited the collaboration as providing an opportunity to create a single market, through the facilitation of free movement of goods, services and investment within the 54 member states of AfCFTA.
Sylva said that any country that aspired to achieve rapid and sustainable economic growth must develop an economic model that enables its human capital to harness its natural resources to create wealth and economic prosperity.
He disclosed that the Federal Government of Nigeria had taken firm steps in funding two strategic energy projects in the country, including a 10,000-tonne per day methanol plant, a 500 million standard cubic feet per day gas processing plant in Brass, Bayelsa, and the Ammonia and Fertilizer plant in Akwa Ibom State.
“Indeed, AfCFTA provides an opportunity to create a single market, through the facilitation of free movement of goods, services and investment within the 54 member states of the Continent, creating access to 1.2 billion customers, with a cumulative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over US$3.4 trillion.
“One of the pathways for this desired collaboration and cross-country development is AfCFTA and I am pleased that we have a representative of AfCFTA in this forum.
“The objective of this pan-African Roundtable is to institutionalize a peer review mechanism among oil-producing countries on local content, as a key development imperative for domestication and sustainable growth of Africa’s hydrocarbon resources.
“Nigeria embraced this model by adopting local content as an economic development model for the oil and sector, in view of its abundant hydrocarbon resources estimated at 37 billion barrels of crude oil and 202 TCF of gas reserves”, the minister said.
Sylva added: “We define local content as value added to or created in the Nigerian economy by a systematic development of capacity and capabilities, through deliberate utilization of Nigerian services, human and material resources in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
“Through implementation of local content we have achieved significant growth in-country value addition from less than 5% in 2010 to 35% in 2021 and we have set an ambitious target to achieve 70% local content in the oil and gas sector by 2027”.
While over 15 African nations are producing and exporting crude oil, the minister noted, the sad reality is that our people have not benefitted maximally from this natural resource, either because we have not managed the proceeds optimally or we failed to domesticate the core operations of the industry.
We must therefore use the opportunity of this RoundTable to initiate conversations around local content, share success stories, challenges and come up with policies that would deepen local participation and domiciliation in our respective countries, he stated.
Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, and Umar Farouk Ibrahim, the Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), said adopting a local content policy and trade collaboration between African countries would impact positively on the economy of the country.
They said that the roundtable would become an annual event, which they may decide to rotate between other African countries.
Other participants at the events were Petroleum Ministers from other African countries, and their representatives.