Consult Nigerians For Dirty Jobs
- Nwapa Cries Out!
Seemingly satisfied that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has failed to see the light of the day, International Oil Companies (IOCs) have started lobbying the Federal Government to abrogate the Nigerian Content Act, saying that investors resent it and noting that it stifles business transactions and anti-World Trade Organization (WTO) requirements.
MMS Plus Weekly gathered that some Multinationals have employed the services of Nigerians to ensure that the Local Content Act is set aside or it’s standard of operations reduced especially in the areas of employment quota and expatriates.
The Act which was passed into law in April 2010 stipulates that any foreign firm operating in the country must have at least 51% of indigenous presence within it and this is exactly what the foreign investors reset. This development has been confirmed by the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Engr. Ernest Nwapa and his counterpart the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources Engr. George Osahon.
Recall that the IOCs have reportedly moved to stop the passage of PIB into law all for their selfish gain. And now they have begun another intrigue to derail the Nigerian Content Act.
Speaking at event organized by offshore West Africa at Eko Hotels in Lagos last week, Engr. Osahon said that foreign investors resent the Act because it stifles business transaction.
According to him “Nigerian Content Act has attracted resentments from foreign markets that they have branded it anti-competition and anti-WTO and that is one criticism that we face everywhere we go”.
He continued, “Everybody knows that the Nigeria Content Act and its belief are so deceptive and it is hamstringing business, that is the challenge we face, the ability to operate under the Nigerian Content law, to attract new capital and foreign technology and to operate without actually feeling hamstrung within our environment”.
He further stated that with technological advancements being experienced all over the world, Nigeria cannot afford to be an exception and that even developed countries are still seeking new ways to advance and enhance their way of life and Nigeria should not be left.
Engr. Osahon who was represented by Wole Akinyosoye an Assistant Director at the DPR said that “Nigeria is going to compete for scientific, technological and financial advancements all over the world, so we need to upgrade our Nigerian Content Act in a way that it can give us leverage, taking into considerations the global reality”.
Meanwhile, Engr. Ernest Nwapa said that Nigerians should rally round to see that the Nigerian Content Act is nurtured and sustained because of its many benefits to Nigerians.
According to him “We are seeing the impact of the Local Content Act on Nigerians, over $7bilion has been invested in the last four or five years and all that translate to jobs, to technology, to Nigerians owing assets and having the capacity to execute projects.”
He continued “This is becoming for us a common sight these days, we are constantly being reminded of the improvements in the Nigerian Participation in the industry and most of these are the transformational evidence coming out of the Nigerian Content Policy, it kind of energized the Nigerian market, it energized Nigerians themselves to participate in all aspect of the oil and gas business in the country”.
He however called on Nigerians who caused him ‘panic’ by demanding for the roll back of some of the requirements of the Act to desist from that as “Local Content alone as it is, is not the cause of the challenges in the country”.
Nwapa further added that “local Content has come to stay, you can see clearly the capacity we now have in Nigeria, the technology, the sheer computing power, the communication support do not only serve us here but now can be deployed across board, thanks to Nigerian Content Policy.”
By Emeka Chukwuaku