A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Simbi Wabote goes global with Nigerian Content advocacy

*Simbi Kesiye Wabote.

OpeOluwani Akintayo

08 November 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB today went global with Nigerian Content advocacy while speaking at the African Oil Week, AOW in Cape Town, South Africa at the start of the African Local Content Forum.

African Local Content Forum is an innovative inclusion in the bouquet of AOW plenaries promoted by NCDMB and other partners to serve as a high profile platform for NOCs, International and Independents Oil Companies, Service Companies to generate single vision of future roadmap for African Content within the global oil and gas sector.

Speaking on the topic, “How to Develop Funds for Local Content Development“, Wabote asserted that Nigerian Content Development Fund model, which is underpinned by legislation is an attractive option for both upcoming and matured oil and gas jurisdictions in the African sub-region. He outlined five key parameters required for sustainable local content practice, to wit, Regulatory Framework, Capacity Building, Gap Analysis, Research and Development, and Funding and provision of incentives. “The importance of funding”, he said, “cannot be over-emphasized in any human endeavor”.

Thus, he added, “the authors of the Nigerian Content Act, in recognition of the importance of funding to the success of Nigerian Content, made a key provision for funding to deliver the key objectives of the law”. The funding provision, he emphasized, is not only to enable the Board to carry out its functions as a regulator “without having to go round cap-in-hand to solicit for the fund from operators”, but also to enable it to develop capacities and capabilities in-country for increased value retention. He argued that the success of the Nigerian Content Development Fund could be attributed to the following factors: A clear, unambiguous provision backed by law; a clear remittance framework, sufficient time for accretion, transparent and impactful utilization.

Regardless of his advocacy for the Nigerian model, Wabote sounded a caveat, “There is no ‘one size fits all’ in local content practice”. To succeed, countries need to adopt best practices, but it is useful to tweak them to suit local circumstances, he concluded.

Earlier, Tony Paul, Chairman, Permanent Local Content Committee, Energy Sector for the Government of Trindad & Tobago, who spoke on the topic “ Developing successful local content framework and policies to promote in-country value and shared prosperity” made the same point, “ there’s no perfect model”, countries must avoid “cut and paste” in designing their framework.

Other presenters and discussants who shared their countries experiences at the African Local Content Forum include Magda Chamraird, former CEO, Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels, Betty Namubiru of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, Ranti Omole for PETAN, Tein George, Chairman, Aveon Offshore, Armando Afonso, Exxonmobil, Angola to mention but few.

On the second day of African Local Content Forum at the AOW, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Wabote will go head to head with leading voices in the various international oil companies on the imperatives, benefits, and concerns about local content practice. He’s poised to espouse the feasibility, expose the fads and allay fears. It promises to be a rich and rewarding debate to be aired live by CNBC from the conference venue.

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