The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) on Tuesday disclosed that exploration and production in the Nigeria oil and gas sector was now fully indigenised.
Mr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, made the disclosure in a goodwill message to a workshop organised by the NCDMB, entitled, ”Sustaining Nigerian Content Development Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic : The Role of the Media”, held in Port Harcourt.
Wabote said that the COVID-19 pandemic, which compelled expatriates in the oil industry to leave the country, presented an opportunity for Nigerians to take over and run the industry.
He noted that the current board had also increased the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund, administered by the Bank of Industry for local players in the oil sector, from $200 million to $350 million.
According to him, the board had invested in the newly inaugurated 5,000 barrels per day Walter Smith Modular Refinery in Imo, and Azikel Refinery in Bayelsa, as well as instituted a $50 million chair for Research and Development in selected Nigerian Universities, amongst other achievements.
In his presentation, Dr Gina Gina, General Manager Corporate Communications, NCDMB, said that the board had successfully developed a policy to incorporate host communities in the oil and gas value chain, using the Community Content Guidelines.
He explained that the guidelines had reserved a quota of jobs and contracts for local communities hosting oil and gas facilities, to promote harmony between oil firms and host communities.
The guidelines, he said, stipulated that all unskilled labour must be sourced from the host communities, while 50 per cent of the semi-skilled and 10 per cent of the skilled work force must also be sourced from the host communities.
Gina further explained that henceforth any firm executing a project valued at $100 million and above, or projects with up to two years time frame, must establish a functional project office in the operational area.
Speaking on the role of the media in achieving the Nigerian Content 10-year strategic roadmap, Chido Nwakamma, a veteran journalist and lecturer at the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, urged the media to focus on providing solutions in their reporting of the sector.
He traced the pioneering role of the first newspaper in Nigeria, Iwe Irohin, in campaigning for a better society and mobilizing its readers to be patriotic and embrace education, and urged today’s journalists to return to the path of development focused reporting.
According to him, there was a compelling need to inform and educate Nigerians on the drive by the government and the NCDMB, to deepen the participation of Nigerians in the oil sector and sensitising them on available opportunities.