The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Mr. Simbi Wabote, has said the capacity developed by local firms through the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act, helped sustain the operations of the Nigerian oil and gas industry in the height of the Covid-19 lockdown. Speaking in a goodwill message he delivered at the Nigerian Content Capacity Building Workshop organised for Media Stakeholders in the South-south region, held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Wabote explained that operations of the sector continued without disruptions even after many expatriates had returned to their countries.

He noted that the development was made possible because Nigerians had developed robust human and infrastructural capacities to operate the highly technical sector. Wabote listed some of the achievements recorded by the board during the pandemic to include commissioning of the NCDMB new head office by President Muhammedu Buhari, increase of the size of the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund from $200 million to $350million and addition of new products to the NCI Fund, notably the working capital loans and women in oil and gas loans.

Other accomplishments during the period, he said, included the approval of the $50 million Nigerian Content Research and Development Fund by the NCDMB governing council, commissioning of the 5,000 bpd Waltersmith modular refinery at Ibigwe, Imo state and approval of additional partnerships in the Nigerian content commercial ventures programme.

He added that the board has also made progress in the implementation of its 10-year strategic roadmap, held checkpoint review sessions for the roadmap, continued the construction of oil and gas industrial parks and secured the Final Investment Decision (FID) and award of contracts for the NLNG Train 7.

According to him, the NCDMB has also achieved 32 per cent value retention from the annual spend in the oil and gas industry, noting that only five per cent was being retained when the Nigerian Content Act was enacted in 2010.

He reiterated that the vision of the roadmap was to achieve 70 per cent value retention by the year 2020, create 300,000 jobs, retain $14 billion out of $20bn annual industry spend as well as build shipyards and manufacturing facilities.

In his presentation, the General Manager, Corporate Communications and Zonal Coordination Division, NCDMB, Dr. Ginah Ginah hinted that the board and operating oil companies had jointly deployed the Community Content Guideline (CCG), which provides a framework for engaging youths of host communities.

The areas of engagement, he said, includes employment, training and contracts in projects, plus the attraction of new businesses to host communities .

General Manager, Strategy and Transformational Projects, NCDMB, Mr Abayomi Bamidele, who was represented by the Supervisor, Strategy and Transformational Division, NCDMB, Mr. Olabisi Okunola, stated that the mid-term review indicated that it was imperative to grow Nigerian content attainment by 11 percent year on year to achieve the targets set in the roadmap.

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