21 November 2015, Port Harcourt – Agip Companies in Nigeria have expressed their determination to train 360 small and medium scale enterprises, SMEs, on how to manage their businesses more efficiently and take advantage of the Local Content Act through its ongoing ‘Vendor Development Programme’.
The companies include Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, Nigerian Agip Energy (NAE), and Agip Energy and Natural Resources, AENR.
The Vice-Chairman and Managing director of Agip companies in Nigeria, Massimo Insullar made this known on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the company’s 2015 ENI Nigerian Content week.
He said the three-day intensive training programme for entrepreneurs was aimed at ensuring efficient management and profitability in their businesses.
“This programme started in 2011 and the purpose is to help small and medium level vendors (especially community contractors) to grow entrepreneurial capacity to manage their own business more efficiently for the purpose of sustainability and profitability
“So far we have successfully qualified a total of 180Nos vendors. At the end of this week NC week, additional 180Nos vendors would be qualified for a grand total of 360Nos vendors so far.”
He also highlighted other laudable initiatives of Agip with respect to the promotion of Nigerian content development and corporate social responsibility.
“Apart from pioneering joint-venture (Jv) Independent Power Project (IPP) in Nigeria with the construction of a power plant in Okpai and delivery of 480mw of power into the National grid to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
“We are leaders in the area of access to energy, water, health, education, social infrastructures, employment, skills acquisition and human capacity building,” he said.
While stating the company’s commitment to assist small and medium enterprises despite obvious challenges, Insullar assured the vendors that the company would adhere to the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act regulating their activities.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, Eni has continued to ensure strict compliance with the provision of the NOGICD act by issuing internal guideline that makes it mandatory that all departments involved in the contracting processes must liaise with its Nigerian content department in order to cross check full adherence to the provision of the Act,
“Eni will continue to respect all Nigerian laws and guidelines related o the -procurement processes for award of contracts.”
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Denzil kentebe, while applauding Agip’s initiative in local content development, challenged the company and the vendors to step up their activities.
His words: “It is our desire that these efforts will be consolidated and produce world class vendors, entrepreneurs that will take advantage of structures that we are building: such as the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF), Nigerian Oil and Gas Parks Scheme (NOGaPS) and other operator and private sector-led schemes to create sustainable businesses with productive job opportunities for Nigerians and producing quality Nigerian goods and services.
“While I appreciate these notable programs, let me challenge the industry today and operators in particular that we take this to the next level: where we will showcase breakthroughs in technology, execution of bigger and more complex work done by local vendors as gains of these initiative.”
He noted that unstable oil prices was creating tension in the economy and said success of businesses would depend on “the ability of companies to develop and optimise local talents, deploy efficient and competitive business strategies and deliver sustained socio-economic benefits to the areas where they operate”.
“Local content should therefore be seen as a tool for development which will create a win-win partnership for all stakeholders and not a burden or added cost to projects,” he advised.
“The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Local Content, Emmanuel Okon, in his presentation, assured Agip and the other partners of the committee’s readiness to work with them for the good of Nigerians.
“The committee is open to any suggestion from Eni and other local contractors on how to improve the programme,” he said.
He also disclosed that the committee would soon re-introduce a bill for amendment to some sections of the Act.
He however said the committee would ensure that the Local Content Act was operated to the letter.
“Our duty is to work for you…. If at any time you feel that your rights as an indigenous contractor have been violated, please you can call on us and we will not hesitate to accommodate your complaints,” he assured indigenous contractors.
*Ernest Chinwo and Ugochi Andrew – Thisday