The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Monetary Board, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote has stressed the importance of allowing diversification in the Nigerian oil and gas sector by creating more space for women participation. In his keynote speech at the virtual Nigerian Content Consultative Forum, NCCF held last week, Wabote explained that the NCDMB Act supports a “diversity working group” in the sector.

Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote

“…so that act also says that Nigerian oil and gas industry, with respect to, just to be clear, upcoming projects in the oil and gas industry, information on available local capabilities, that is the role the import of establishing NCCF, and also other policy proposals that might be relevant to Nigerian content development in the oil and gas sector. Hence, we felt that a diversity working group is a very key group that we need to intervene personally in order to ensure their participation in the oil and gas sector”.

According to him, before more women can be given more high offices and responsibility in the sector, there was need to identify “where they are, who they are, and how can we help to intervene in the sector that they are working in, in order that the affirmative action will work”, he said at the Forum themed ‘Diversity SWG Stakeholders Meeting’.

“Where are those people? How do we identify them? What else can we do in terms of policy, advocacy and drive to get them to occupy those positions that we want? The second bucket that the intent of setting up the NCCF wants to look at is “Where are those women who are business owners and are providing services for the service sector or upstream sector in the oil and gas space that we need to support in order that they have opportunity in order to grow their businesses without necessarily continuously being under the shadow of the men as such. So that is the second bucket of where our focus is”.

Wabote, however, quickly disclaimed that the Board does not have the capacity to enforce candidates on organisations for promotion.

“Now it is important to also manage expectation in this regard. NCDMB like we all know is a regulatory agency, NCDMB does not hoist contractors or companies, we don’t do that. We do not also put people in bigger spaces that is not our reason. Since my resumption of this office, I have avoided that and I continue to avoid it. If I want and I am interested in an affirmative action to ensure that women participate in the gendering process, I approach the GGM of NAPIMS and I speak to him and based on our collaboration, he is the one who put such people on bigger seats.

“In the same vein, I speak to the industry based on our experience, my contact and people that we know. I speak to the industry to give that affirmative position to the women so we do not force people into gender document, we don’t do that at NCBMB and I think this is important because a lot of people have different views on what our role is but since I took on this position, I have maintained the regulatory standing and then the third bucket of what we are looking at is to say “how do we then bring up pallets to fill these two buckets in terms of where we want to go and that is what we want to do and hence, we extend our influence into tertiary institutions in order to encourage women to take on courses that will help them participate in the oil and gas sector”.

Corroborating Wabote’s stand, Alero Onosode, Chairperson, Diversity Sectoral Working Group, NCCF, said there was a need to strike a balance between men and women representation in the oil and gas sector.

According to her, ensuring women inclusion would allow for more diversity in terms of input, thereby enriching outcomes.

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