The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Ernest Nwakpa, has said that over $2.8 billion has been invested by indigenous operators in the nation’s oil and gas industry as the Board pushes to raise over $500 billion for the Local Content Development Fund(LCDF) since the commencement of the Local Content Act.
According to him, this invested amount was commendable given that the local investors face the challenge of paucity of fund because of the operating environment.
He noted that not all the investments by indigenous operators have been captured as the Board was still compiling data of the total investments by the local operators.
“We are keeping track of indigenous investors,” he said
Nwakpa, who was speaking in Lagos, yesterday at the annual conference and Award organised by the National Association of Energy Correspondents (NAEC), said that the indigenous operators in the oil and gas industry needed more fund to expand their operations particularly those in the upstream sector that required huge investment. “For an indigenous operator to raise as much as $300 million for one rig is quite challenging,” he said.
On Local Content Development Fund (LCDF), he said that the fund would be launched next month.
He explained that the fund was not meant to be disbursed to indigenous operators, but that 30 percent of it would be used for capacity building in the industry, while the other 70 per cent would only be used to offset 50 per cent of bank interest on the borrowing made by the indigenous operators.
He told LEADERSHIP that the fund was expected to hit well over $500 billion in the next five years.
The Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF), which is one per cent of every contract in the oil and gas industry, is said to be a growing fund. Nwakpa, an engineer and executive secretary of the fund managers said the fund can be accessed by all serious indigenous operators for local capacity development.
According to industry experts ,apart from the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which was yet to be passed by the National Assembly, the Nigerian Content Act that has been signed into law remained one of the most important legislations in more than fifty years of oil production in the country.
He noted that NCDMB was conducting biometric exercise of expatriates working with the international oil companies so as to ensure that they do not contradict the local content Act. “We are working in collaboration with the ministry of interior to ensure that expatriate quotas are not indiscriminately issued as well as regulate the issuance of expatriate quota to none deserving foreigner’ he said.