Oscarline Onwuemenyi 07 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Local Content, Hon. Emmanuel Ekon, says some international oil and gas companies, IOCs, operating in the country still find it hard to adjust to the changing environment presented by the Local Content Act of 2010, even as he said the law is affording Nigerians employment opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
Ekon, who spoke in an interview in Abuja, noted that some of the international oil and gas companies were yet to come to terms with some changes in the contracting system in the industry as it pertains to the Local Content Act.
He said, “Some of the IOCs have been in the country for over five decades, some, more than that, operating within this sector and have done things in the same way for that period of time and this law is barely six years old. It was passed in 2010, so you don’t expect these companies to just wake up overnight and adhere to this law a hundred percent.”
According to him, in spite of some infringements, the Local Content Act has been relatively successful, adding that a lot has happened within the sector between 2010 and date.
He said, “So many Nigerians will agree with me that prior to the passage of this bill just about everything including feeding, catering services in offshore platforms were basically done by foreigners. Even the water some Nigerians were drinking, Escravos and offshore were supplied by foreigners up to the janitorial services. Most of those jobs were outsourced to foreign companies.
“But today, it is relatively different and a lot has happened. So many Nigerians have had opportunities to work within the oil and gas industry, provide services, capacities have been built, and a lot of Nigerians have undertaken jobs that were hitherto done by the so-called expatriates. I will say we have made tremendous progress between 2010 and now.”
Ekon commended former President Jonathan who signed the bill into law, noting that, “if he did not do it, we would have remained in the same situation where just about everything within the oil and gas sector were done by foreigners but he saw the importance and signed that bill into law and today, we have witnessed changes in that regard.”