IOCs Hindering Nigeria’s Unemployment Eradication, Says NCDMB

IOCs hindering Nigeria’s unemployment eradication, says NCDMB
Simbi Kesiye Wabote

Some international oil companies operating in Nigeria are not supportive of the unemployment eradication efforts of the Federal Government as they export jobs that can be executed in Nigeria to China.

Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote, said this on Monday at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas conference in Abuja.

Wabote, who also stated that the NCDMB had created a $400m intervention fund for the oil and gas sector, told IOCs at the conference that their drive to cut cost at the detriment of Nigeria as their host country should be reconsidered.

He said, “What I see is a constant battle with some of the IOCs who believe that the only place to carry out their work must be China and not Nigeria.

“And I’ve said it severally that nobody can compete with the Chinese, not the Europeans, not the Americans. You cannot compete with them when it comes to cost.

“But I think that for a country that you’ve been around for almost 50 years, you must have in your heart on how to develop the country and help the government to create employment and value. But I don’t see it in some of the IOCs that operate in Nigeria.”

Wabote said NCDMB was not out to block the development of projects by IOCs, rather the agency would continue to support the oil firms in accordance with the law.

He, however, explained that local content must not be seen as a cost centre but part of the business with several benefits for all nations, businesses and investors involved in the practice.

“We in local content believe in balancing cost in whatever we do. But for those who argue about cost, you must also balance the cost discussion with stability in the country,” he said.

He added, “In a country where perhaps you have almost 35 per cent unemployment rate, with bulging youth population; what will you benefit if you take the jobs out of this country to China and then leave that youth population? I can assure you that when you finish your project you cannot operate it.

“This is because you must balance the social needs of the people with your craze, crave and drive for cost reduction against the survival of a nation.

“Let me highlight that we are not helpless or oblivious of what to do as a regulator when it comes to dealing with recalcitrant defaulters.

“We are very pragmatic and only resort to the deployment of our powers when all efforts to bring the offending parties to compliance fail.”

Wabote commended Total Energies for demonstrating faith in Nigeria through the massive deployment of local content in the development of the multi-billion dollar Egina Project.

He stated that through the project, Nigeria was able to develop its fabrication capacity from 60,000 metric tonnes to 200,000 metric tonnes.

The NCDMB boss also stated that through the Nigerian Content Development Fund, the board had set up a $400m intervention package for the oil sector.

“We have set up a total of $400m with $300m being managed by Bank of Industry and $100m being managed by NEXIM Bank,” he said.

He said the board had also recovered some funds for local content development.

Wabote said, “In respect of the non-remittance of the Nigerian Content Development Fund, I wish to announce that we have recovered close to $100m of undisputed obligations of the third party forensic audit of remittances between 2010 to 2017.”

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