Local Content has attracted serious Nigerian investors – Nwapa

Ernest Nwapa, Executive Secretary, NCDMB26 October 2014, Sweetcrude, Yenagoa – The implementation of the Nigerian Content Act has attracted a new crop of Nigerian investors who are no longer satisfied playing second fiddle roles to expatriates, but rather determined to commit huge resources in owning hi-tech assets and facilities to be used in executing projects in the oil and gas industry, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Ernest Nwapa has said.

Speaking recently in Port Harcourt, Rivers State after commissioning a workshop established by Benkline Nigeria Limited for the repair of oil and gas pumps, refurbishment and refitting of mechanical seals, gear boxes and associated equipment, the Executive Secretary explained that many Nigerians were no longer interested in acting as agents for foreign partners, but “were investing alongside their partners, learning how to manage the business and operate complex equipment, repair and even do research and development.”

Nwapa noted that the newly developed bullish attitude of Nigerian investors validate the wisdom of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in signing the Nigerian Content Bill into law in 2010 as well as the commitment of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke in supporting the implementation in a structured and sustainable manner.

According to him, “we are happy that the industry has come to accept this as a way of life and we no longer have to push and pull in all directions. What is going on today is a continuous collaboration between the government and the industry, between Nigerian companies and Original Equipment Manufacturers, OEMs.”

He dispelled the notion that the Board was forcing OEMs to set up in Nigeria, stressing that the local oil and gas industry provided sufficient business and market to justify investments in-country.

The Executive Secretary maintained that many locations overseas where services were hitherto performed for the Nigerian oil and gas industry before the passage of the Nigerian Content Act were smaller and less equipped than most facilities being set up by Nigerians since the Act came into effect.

He added, “A few years ago, we were told that many oil and gas equipments were very intricate and if not well used can create disasters for the oil and gas industry. But valves are now being taken out from the fields, tested and maintained here and put back successfully.”

Speaking further, Nwapa commended Benkline for successfully partnering with OEMs- Frank Mohn AS of Norway and Eurofiliases of France to deliver hi-tech services in the industry, adding that the Board was promoting the same policy under its Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme, NOGAPS, as a strategy to get OEMs to work with small and medium enterprises and mentor them to manufacture some of their components.

He challenged international and indigenous operating companies to patronize Nigerian service companies who set up facilities, adding that government was committed to support every investment that is made in-country.

The Executive Secretary reiterated that the value of new investments made by Nigerian service companies in the last four years had hit $5bn, noting that the development pointed to massive investments that would come into the industry in the next five years.

Earlier, Chairman, Board of Directors, Benkline Nigeria, Mr. Larry Osai advised Nigerian investors to partner with persons and firms that can contribute resources and knowledge so as to grow their companies and leave legacies.

He also commended the company’s partners for buying into the Nigerian Content policy and helping Benkline maintain a good presence in the oil and gas industry, adding that the new workshop will close the gap in the quality service maintenance of rotating equipment. 

Osai attributed the company’s growth to the government’s local content policy, stating that “they put a legislation in place and left it in the able hands of NCDMB under the leadership of Ernest Nwapa. He has not only pragmatically delivered on the mandate, but he is religiously committed to it.”

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