By John Ikani
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has underscored that implementation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act of 2010 is vital to realizing President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
Senator Lokpobiri who spoke during his tour of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) facilities and projects in Bayelsa State, said NCDMB’s core mandates, such as promoting in-country value addition, encouraging local manufacturing, developing human and material capacities, and job creation, align with the government’s key aspirations.
He commended the NCDMB for its outstanding performance, particularly for creating the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCI Fund), which addresses the challenge of affordable finance in the oil and gas sector.
The NCI Fund, administered by the Bank of Industry (BOI), will help eligible oil and gas companies access capital for growth, capacity building, and job creation.
The Minister’s visit to the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGaPS) in Bayelsa State left him impressed, describing it as a pivotal development in fostering in-country manufacturing in the oil and gas sectors and boosting job opportunities.
He assured the Federal Government’s support for the NCDMB in achieving its objectives, emphasizing that President Bola Tinubu is committed to advancing Nigerian Content and increasing local participation in the oil and gas industry.
According to him, “Mr. President will do whatever he can to ensure that we achieve a lot more than had been achieved in the past from Nigerian Content. We are happy that Nigerian Content has made very strategic investments geared towards creating jobs. 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.”
Senator Lokpobiri also acknowledged the contribution of indigenous companies in filling the gaps left by international oil companies’ plans to divest from onshore and shallow waters.
According to him, the indigenous companies have thrived thanks to the systematic empowerment strategies implemented by the NCDMB over the years.
He said: “Nigerian companies are doing very well today, courtesy of the capacity-building strategies that were institutionalized by the NCDMB in the past years.”
The Minister further praised the NCDMB for constructing and maintaining the iconic 17-storey Nigerian Content Tower and the 1000-capacity NCDMB Conference Hall.
He stressed the need to preserve the facilities’ aesthetics and ambience, noting that the culture of maintenance is essential for infrastructural development.
Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, provided the Minister with a comprehensive overview of the Board’s history, achievements, and the expected commissioning of the Emeyal-1 Park in the first quarter of 2024.
He explained that the slight delay in the schedule was due to severe flooding in various states in 2022.
Wabote also disclosed that several manufacturing firms and vendors had expressed interest in operating at the parks, and the Board was in the process of screening applicants to select serious firms for the Bayelsa and Cross River parks.
During the facility tour, the Minister and his entourage inspected various NCDMB facilities, including the NCDMB Fire Station, Creche, the under-construction three-star NCDMB Conference Hotel, the Nigeria Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGaPS) facility at Emeyal-1, the NCDMB gas power plant at Elebele, and the NCDMB Gas Hub at Polaku.