In 2010, the Federal Government established the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) through the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act. The rationale behind the establishment of this board is to promote the development and utilization of in-country capacities for the industrialization of the country through the effective implementation of the Nigerian Content Act.
Sad to say, several years after the birth of the Board, its aims and objectives are far from being realized as a result of the non-implementation of the Act. Thus, the need for change in the Board became very much imperative. However, with the emergence of a new era in 2016 under Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, the Board is today not only looking rejuvenated and reinvigorated, but also with the full implementation of the Act, the Board has been repositioned back on the right track.
Upon assumption into office, in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was keen on improving local content in every aspect of the economy and in order to achieve this, the need to appoint someone who is very much vast in local business development (local control) to pilot the affairs of the Board became necessary.
Based on his proven and enviable track record on engineering, supply chain and stakeholder management, local content business development (local content), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote stood out among his peers, and was consequently appointed by President Buhari in 2016 as the executive secretary of the Board, to manage its affairs.
There is no gain saying that within two years into office, the Board has been transformed significantly leading to the full implementation of the Act, and the effect of this, has brought about the partnership of the Board with both local and international stakeholders, such as India and the United States of America in a bid to advancing information and communication technology (ICT) in our oil and gas industry which is paramount to capacity building, research and innovation in the industry. This development has also deepened our relationship with these countries in the area of manufacturing and processing of hydrocarbon.
Again, in order to realise the government’s policy on modular refineries and to have a substitute to imported refined petroleum products, the Board has taken a giant step by signing an equity investment agreement with Waltersmith Refining and Petrol Chemical Company Limited for the construction of 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery. This agreement is also expected to address the issue of pipeline vandalism in the country.
Pursuant to its determined effort in local content development, the Board was instrumental in ensuring that there was over 50 percent Nigerian content on Total Upstream Egina Deep Water Project and over 70 per cent on Subsea Tree Project.
The Board in the last two years has also adopted means to ensuring speedy approval process of its activities in the area of the contracting circle (which some years back would take donkey years) by removing administrative bottleneck and unnecessary redtapism before contract can be awarded by NNPC-NAPIMS. This has been made possible by signing service level agreement with NLNG and OPTS respectively.
It is also worthy to note that the Board is in partnership with Dangote Refinery to form a committee that would develop a framework for the implementation of the Nigerian content in the development of the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery project, this project upon completion will create over 200, 000 direct and indirect jobs.
Today, owners of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can expand their businesses and become employers of labour via the loan facilities with low interest rate that the Board gives. In this regard, the Board has made available 200 million dollars to BOI to be given as loans to SMEs. This will not only boost local content but also the economy.
The same Board within two years in office has established ITC centers in some secondary schools in a bid to advancing the concept of “catch them young” and capacity building in the country. In the same vein, it has also created a platform for providing the youth with specialised skills they need to seek employment as well as to improve the productivity of already employed youth, through its 60-20-20 principle.
In fact, it was in view of these numerous achievements recorded by the Board within a short space of two years that the Board was accorded with OGTAN and 1st Dr. Alario Parra awards respectively. Indeed, diligence comes with rewards. There is no doubt that Engr. Kesiye Wabote, often described by those who know him well as effective and resourceful manager who is able to build and manage diverse and high performing teams, who during his days in Shell BP was the catalyst for the execution of major engineering projects for the company has brought to bear his wealth of experience, ideas, innovations, initiatives in engineering, supply chains, stakeholder management, local business development (Local Content) in bringing about the laudable and significant changes the Board has witnessed in recent time, such that today we are proud to use made in Nigeria goods.
This indeed, is a step in the right direct ion which the Board has taken. It is a step towards a greater Nigeria. It is a step towards the realisation of our full potential as a country. Kudos to the Board for its commendable and significant contribution to local content development in the country.
-Comrade Amachree wrote in from Port Harcourt, Rivers State