If Nigeria is really committed to developing local capacities and harnessing its economic fortunes, it needs a single local content policy framework for all sectors of the economy.
Executive secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, said this yesterday at the eighth Practical Nigerian Content Forum in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Wabote was responding to calls by stakeholders in some critical sectors of the economy for different local content acts for their sectors.
He said that any attempt to duplicate the local content policy would weaken the policy drive, giving room for breaches.
Stressing the need for a single local content framework covering critical sectors of the economy like oil and gas, construction, information and communications technology (ICT), power, manufacturing, among others, he added: “If all sectors seek their specific local content acts, such development will destroy the agenda. We should have one strong local content act.”
According to the NCDMB boss, there is need to further develop the current local content act to encompass all the sectors of the economy, as the concentration on the oil and gas sector would not earn optimal dividend for the nation.
“The oil and gas sector is just a small employer of labour; there are other sectors that have the capacity to employ huge number of Nigerians and significantly create more jobs in the economy,” he added.
Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, during a panel session, said that the current local content act encouraged massive development of local skills in the country.
More Nigerian companies have been encouraged by the act to commence and remain in business; thus, creating more jobs and opportunities, he asserted.
His words: “Before the act, people never knew they would own service companies that would employ good number of Nigerians. As a country, we need to ensure that more projects come on stream, so that there will be enough activities that will generate businesses for all these service companies.”
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said that the role of the NCDMB in developing the country’s hydrocarbon resources could not be overemphasised.
Represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, he said that he could see signs of more investments entering the country owing to the opportunities the act unleashed.