Written by: Okechukwu Nnodim
Source: PUNCH Nigeria
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board on Monday revealed that it had so far disbursed $160m out of the $200m Nigerian Content Intervention Fund to oil companies for the development of modular refineries, and capacity building, among others.
It also lambasted international oil companies operating in Nigeria for not appreciating the in-country capacities that had been developed over the years in the country’s oil and gas sector and urged the IOCs to take time and evaluate the capacities in Nigeria.
In his opening address on Nigerian Content Seminar at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas conference in Abuja, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, noted that when he assumed office at the board, he was always confronted with the question of how much was in the purse of the agency for local content development in Nigeria.
“When they (journalists) ask, I give them the exact figure and these days I don’t face that question anymore,” he said.
He added, “But then people also started asking, ‘what did you do with this fund?’ One, I am happy to tell you that the $200m capacity development with the Bank of Industry has actually been very successful.
“Today we probably have about $40m left because $160m has been accessed by Nigerian companies to build capacity. So I don’t worry about people asking me what are you doing with the fund.”
Wabote, however, noted that a lot of companies that benefitted from the fund were defaulting in terms of paying back what they were given.
He said, “We cannot believe that some companies are not paying but they are doing business in the oil and gas sector. These include IOCs, indigenous companies, contractors and operators. We are getting close to where we will hand them over to the authorities.
“We are almost there where when we compile how much they are supposed to have paid and how much they owe, we will give them to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission because they are the agency responsible to recover such funds. That will happen in the next one or two months.”