Collective efforts as leeway to full local content implementation
Stakeholders in the country’s oil and gas sector have identified the collective efforts of operators and the Federal Government as the only way to fully optimise the potential of the Nigerian Content Policy.
Speaking at the 6th Annual Lecture and Award Ceremony of Nigerian NewsDirect held in Lagos, President, Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria, (OGTAN) Afe Mayowa, said the potential in the oil and gas industry remain untapped because of individuals’ selfish motive, which he said is making the country lag behind other oil producing countries.
Speaking on the theme, “7 Years of Nigerian Content Implementation, State Ownership of Resources VS Infrastructural Development,” he said: “The issue in Nigeria is selfishness. The issue is not with the structure or system, but who we are in our individual selfishness.
“I remember a time while I was working with a company in Port Harcourt; we decided to build a school for the host community. The elders and youths asked us not to build schools for them but rather to give them the money. We declined and told them we are building the school.
“We did the estimates running into millions and gave the community. That was 20 years ago, till today I don’t know if that school has been built. If oil companies give to community, community elders still pocket the money.
“It’s time for Nigeria to refocus and build their institution within Nigeria. We should stop sending our children abroad for education. But rather, we should generate a premier university in Nsukka and Ife. There was a time when there were 26 nationals in university of Ife but today Nigerians send their children to these countries. Nigerians’ mentality must change. We should develop a nationalistic tendency not just restructuring. We must think that we have people left behind,” he said.
According to him, the reason for the Act was because of the desire in the industry to have more Nigerians participating in the sector, adding that the Nigerian local content law has been yielding lots of funds for the Oil and Gas industry.
Similarly, the Obasewa of Ile Ife, Chief John Odeyemi, who represented the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, said the Nigerian Content Act has done a lot in making sure that indigenous Oil and Gas companies can now compete favourably with the international oil companies (IOCs) in getting contracts.
He said: “The Nigerian content law has worked. At least $5 billion out of $20 billion spent by the oil and gas industry are now retained in Nigeria. Those days, it took three to four companies to compete with Shell but now Nigerians are getting more contracts,” he said.
According to him, the reason for the delay in passage of the Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB) can be traced to ignorance and corruption.