By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel has assured citizens of the state on government’s readiness to commence building of modular refinery which will help to absorb some trainees who have completed their training in various fields.
Emmanuel who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Sir, Etekamba Udo Umoren gave the assurance at the ongoing 7th practical Nigerian Content, organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDBM) on Tuesday in uyo.
This year’s theme is “Nigerian Content – The Next Frontier’’
The governor said that plans are also on the way to upgrade the Peacock Paint Industry at Ikot Ekang, Etinan, to produce anti-corrosive paint of international standards for use in the oil and gas industry.
He said that government has great interest in peace and security, adding that the state have a robust mechanism that provides a platform for oil companies and their host community to interface and dialogue on mutual interest and co-exist.
According to him, this is to promote peace and provide conducive environment for oil companies to operate. It has also provided room for companies to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with their host communities.
He said that however, out of thirteen (13) Oil Producing Companies operating in the state, only five (5) have signed MOU with their Host Communities in compliance to Government directive. It is good for us to be proactive. I therefore urge companies who are yet to sign MOUs to contact the State Ministry for this.
“There is no doubt that Akwa Ibom State is the highest producer of crude oil and the most peaceful in the Niger Delta Region. In spite of this, the State has few oil and gas and service companies established in it.
“This is unacceptable. However, since the inception of this administration conscientious effort has been made to build capacities, develop manpower and provide infrastructure to enable the State reposition itself and take its pride of place,’’ he said
Emmanuel said that in line with the DAAKADA Philosophy of this government which has aroused the interest of the citizens into entrepreneurship and self-actualization, the State has through its various agencies trained some youths and graduates in pipeline welding, electrical and instrumental engineering, mechanical installations, information communication technology, etc.
He said that this is to provide employment and local content in the oil and gas industry, adding that government have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Halliburton to build a Skill Training Centre in the State.
“ I wish to call on NCDMB to develop the site of the Skill Acquisition Centre allocated to them by the State to boost manpower development for the industry.
In his remark, the executive secretary, NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote said that within the next one year, the board targets to ensure that the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund becomes fully operational and provide statistics of service providers and community contractors who have benefited.
Wabote said that the board is also planning to organise the Judges sensitization workshop on the NOGICD Act as a prelude to prosecution of non-compliant cases in the courts.
According to him, we will sharpen our inter-agency collaboration with Customs, Nigerian Immigration Service, PTDF, PTI, NNPC-NAPIMS, and others
“We will also strengthen the Sectorial Working Groups under the Nigerian Content Consultative Forum (NCCF) as a credible platform to get regular feedback from industry practitioners.
“We will set up the R&D Steering Committee and deliver R&D roadmap for the industry. In addition, we will give traction to our on-going initiatives such as the R&D Centers of Excellence and the ‘Adopt a Faculty’ program,’’ he said.
The Es said that about this time last year, “We had the Practical Nigerian Content in Abuja when I was barely three weeks in office as the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.
“At the end of that conference, certain actions were generated some of which were given to NCDMB.
“In line with my commitment to ensure value is derived from conferences rather than just used as talk shops, I have decided that we will utilize the forum like this to provide update on any action we have agreed to take onboard to deepen local content practice
Wabote said that one of the first directives he gave upon resumption is that operators can assume they have received our consent if they did not get feedback from us within 15 working days.
He said that beyond this, the board has also streamlined our internal processes at the Board such that NCDMB is now positioned to review contracts within 100 days provided submitted documents are in line with the NOGICD Act.
` I am happy to note that we have demonstrated this in the last one year as evidenced in the unprecedented completion time of tendering process for the Zabazaba project.
“We are bold enough to jointly develop and sign Service Level Agreements with some of our critical stakeholders such as NLNG – a first by any government agency.
“ We have written to OPTS to jointly draw up similar agreements to ensure NCDMB’s role in contracting process is clear and transparent in line with the Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business.
“ We have systematically commenced expansion of operation to cover midstream and downstream sectors of our industry.
“In the last one year, we have launched the $200mln intervention fund for our Nigerian oil and gas service providers that are contributors to the Nigerian Content Development Fund.
“The intervention fund has all-in single digit interest rate of 8% for loans extended to Nigerian Oil and Gas Service providers and all-in single digit interest rate of 5% for loans extended to community contractors.