BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil) Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has described the effective implementation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act 2010 as a panacea to actualising the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
The key mandates of the NCDMB are the promotion of in-country value addition in the oil and gas industry, incentivising local manufacturing in the oil industry, development of human and material capacities, and job creation
At the tour of NCDMB facilities and projects in Bayelsa State on Tuesday, the minister revealed that NCDMB’s mandates are major pathways for attaining the aspirations of the current administration.
He commended the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote and the management team for their sterling performance, describing the creation of the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCI Fund) as one of the board’s most impactful initiatives.
Lokpobiri hinted that lack of access to affordable finance is one of the biggest challenges facing emerging players in the oil and gas sector, adding that the NCI Fund which is administered by the Bank of Industry (BOI) would assist qualified oil and gas companies to access the capital they need to grow, build capacities and create jobs.
The minister hailed the vision of the board in constructing the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGaPS) sited at Emeyal 1, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, describing it as a major contribution towards strengthening in-country manufacturing in the oil and gas sector, and job creation.
He promised that the Federal Government would support the NCDMB to fully achieve its core mandates, noting that President Tinubu is committed to redoubling the past achievements recorded in the board.
“We are happy that Nigerian Content has made very strategic investments towards creating jobs but we need to redouble the achievements of the board. We hope that NCDMB will help Nigerians to play a lot more prominent role in the oil and gas industry,” the minister said.
On the ongoing plans by some international oil companies to divest from onshore and shallow waters and move to deep and ultra-offshore operations, Senator Lokpobiri pointed out that Nigerian companies have bridged the gap given the capacity building strategies that were institutionalised by the NCDMB over the years.
He lauded the board for constructing and maintaining the iconic 17-storey Nigerian Content Tower and 1000-capacity NCDMB Conference Hall.
The minister indicated that the aesthetics and ambiance of the facilities surpassed most locations across the world and called for the continuous maintainance of the facilities.
“I commend the board for the maintenance culture it has on its facilities. I want to see the edifice having the same look down the line. The challenge of infrastructure development is the maintenance. I will give all the support I can so that the edifice will be maintained for the benefit of all Nigerians, ” he added.
Lokpobiri and his entourage also inspected the NCDMB Fire Station, Creche, three-star NCDMB Conference Hotel under construction, NCDMB gas power plant at Elebele, and NCDMB Gas Hub at Polaku.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Wabote narrated the history of the board, successive stages, its strength and accomplishments till date.
He was optimistic that NoGaPS project would be commissioned in the first quarter of 2024, attributing the slight delay in the execution schedule to the devastating flooding that hit several states in the second and third quarters of 2022.
Wabote informed that several manufacturing firms and other vendors had expressed interest in operating at the parks, saying that the board is currently screening the applicants to select competitive firms for the Bayelsa and Cross River parks.
BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja