Sixty-three years after the discovery of oil in commercial quantity, the Federal Government yesterday said Nigeria was poised to play a commanding role in the industry globally through100 indigenous companies. Speaking at the launch of ‘Project 100’ in Abuja, the Minster of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, stated that the move would reduce influx of expatriates into the country and check job losses to foreign firms.
According to him, the initiative, being promoted by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), would boost exploration activities by indigenous oil companies and generate additional $40 billion to the nation. The minister, who averred that it is high time the country led the sector at the international front, submitted that the project would positively impact the nation’s economy through job, wealth creation as well as technology and skill development.
He pointed out that the intervention concept was to identify, recognise and nurture wholly owned indigenous oil and gas service providers into large-scale players that could made great impact in the economy in terms of employment provision, technology development, wealth creation and other local content indicators.
Kachikwu said: “This is to build the capacity of Nigerians. We have been in the oil and gas exploration, production and distribution for over 60 years and some of the real benefits are still monopolised by foreign operators. The time has come to build our own companies. So, we (have) selected indigenous firms that we can help through financing, business opportunities and promote them to the next level.
“At some point, we should be able to say there is no need to give job out to anybody other than Nigerians.” He noted that there wouldn’t be limit to the number of beneficiaries.In terms of impact, the minister insisted that independent oil producers alone could boost production and add $30 to $40 billion to the national economy. Kachikwu held that local engineers could equally hit about 60 per cent participation, while employment statistics as well as other multiplier effects would significantly increase.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, said growing local content remained a critical path to the nation’s oil and gas sector. He maintained that the exercise was based on about 80 per cent non-financial imperatives, including policy, capacity building and access to market.
To him, the move was a milestone to the realisation of the local content objectives in the country. Regarding non-financial interventions, Wabote said the initiative would provide strategic business and technical support, access to market as well as promote local capacity development.