The oil and gas sector in Nigeria is one of the most important sectors in the country’s economy, accounting for more than 90% of the country’s exports and 80% of the Federal Government’s revenue.

It has variously been described as the lifeline of the nation.

This, therefore, explains the rationale behind the establishment of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), which was meant to give the common man especially indigenes of the Niger Delta region hope of participating in the industry through well articulated policies and implementation of strategies.

The NCDMB core mandates were to develop local capacities and monitor the Nigerian oil and gas industry to ensure greater participation of indigenous companies with a trickle down effect on the generality of the population especially those in the Niger Delta region.

Among the first framework set up by the agency was to develop the Nigerian Content 10-Year Strategic Roadmap, with short, medium, and long-term targets to increase Nigerian Content performance from 28 percent to 70 percent by 2027.

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According to the board, the 10-Year-Roadmap has five pillars, namely Technical Capability Development, Compliance and Enforcement, Enabling Business Environment, Organisation Capability, and Sectorial and Regional Market Linkage.

Since inception, the leaderships of the establishment have worked assiduously towards achieving its core mandate as contained in the Act that set it up.

The story has been the same for the Engr. Simbi Wabote-led Board of the NCDMB, which has made outstanding impact in the Nigerian economy since it took over the mantle of leadership in 2016.

Recently at the  Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) dinner, which took place at the NAF Conference Centre and Suites, Abuja, Engr. Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary, who was represented by Mr. Daziba Patrick Obah, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics,  seized the opportunity to explain the core mandate of NCDMB and what the agency has been able to achieve so far.

It also sought collaboration with the media to achieve its goal.

While explaining the concept of local content, Wabote said, “Simply put, Nigerian Content is Local Content in the Nigerian parlance: just like Local Content in the UK is commonly referred to as UK Content. Local Content in whatever form, refers to raw materials, human resources, machinery, and any other input resources from the area where these inputs are transformed into products and services.”

The Executive Secretary also explained the significance of effective local content practice, which he said “translates to local capacity growth and development,”  describing it as what “defines the mandate of NCDMB.”

Continuing he said “We derive our mandate from the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act 2010, which creates the NCDMB and sets thresholds for work scopes for projects within the oil and gas industry.

“Over the years, we have demonstrated in-country value addition by systematically implementing, enforcing and monitoring the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry.”

The  Board has made tremendous contributions to the development of the Nigerian oil and gas sector, while implementing its core mandate.

According to him, some of the major successes of the board are:

“Employment of skilled Nigerians –this is achieved through consistent implementation of expatriate quota commitments such as training of Nigerians, succession planning for understudies, exchange programs, and employment commitments

“Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Joint Qualification System – this is our electronic database for individuals, International Oil Companies, Oil Servicing Companies and Nigerian Operators. This platform enables us to create a liable database for situational analysis, and other statistical applications and projections.

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“Nigerian Content Plan – for all projects submitted to the Board for evaluation, this plan details how much scope is set aside for Nigerians. It is commitment made by companies with the Board, and has led to the substantial growth of Nigerian businesses.

“Research & Development – we have developed a working document that outlines the scope, clusters, and funding of R&D activities. A key addition here, is our commitment to support economically viable R&D output to be transformed into marketable and deployable products. At the moment, we are supporting the following R&D outputs: Hydro-pneumatic power generator; Smart-Gas leak detector; Catalytic Pyrolysis of waste plastics to petroleum products; and 5 digitally supported technologies through Hackathon process.

Others are:

“Establishment of an R&D Council – this council advises the Board on the economic and technological viability of R&D products, and recommends funding for field testing and commercialization. $50m has been set aside for this purpose as seed money.

“Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme – we are building manufacturing parks for equipment, and equipment components in the oil and gas industry. Currently, we have five parks that have reached different stages of completion. The parks are to provide shop floors, electricity, internal road network, administrative buildings, training centres, and accommodation for selected park operators.

“Training – we have trained a lot Nigerians on the back of projects, since the inception of the Board. A typical example is the Egina FPSO, with 77% of work on it done locally. Similarly, a lot of training and skill transfer have been outlined for the NLNG Train 7 project.

“Nigerian Content Fund – in collaboration with the Bank of Industry, the Board is supporting local businesses in the oil and gas sector by providing loans with single-digit interest rates. The amount so far lent out hovers around $350m.”

Wabote also explained that the current local content level is 32% saying the agency was working towards achieving 70% in the year 2027.

According to him, this would be achieved through “a dedicated and steady implementation of our 10-Year Strategic Roadmap.”

He also sought collaboration with the media to grow the philosophy of Nigerian Content, adding “We believe that the media being the mouthpiece of the people should emphasise the positive side of local content practice. Local content should not be seen as an effort to practice what is right but a spontaneous exercise of an existential imperative.”