During the last Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition, one of the subject matter at the front burner of discuss was the Local Content. In this short interview with Abdulrahman Obaje, Senator Engineer Lee Maeba Chairman, Joint Senate Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill bare his mind on issues bordering the local content and the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB. The excerpt:
Our readers would want to hear from you as the champion of the local content, how far we have gone so far on this policy?
I said everything there…
for the record sir.
I said.., like I said from the journey so far, this whole house is about compliance and building up and sustaining local capacity, and like I said, between 2010 and now, I am not impressed with what has been achieved in compliance and so, compliance means that every company must commit itself to the measurement level in the schedule about local content and also Nigerian companies have not been more encouraged financially both by the boards and by the banks. So, if Nigerian companies are not encouraged financially, we can’t do more because, like I said, in ten years we should be able to cover up 100% content across the whole operations and so if by 2020, we have not been able to achieve hundred percent across the whole operations, I say I will protest because it is my vision that by 2020 we should have hundred percent content across all operations in the oil and gas industry
so, how do you ensure that the Nigerian content thrives, how do we create an enabling environment for it to thrive?
By encouraging the board to do what they are supposed to do. The authors of the bill put a lot of powers within the board and they have put a lot of empowerment on the board to do what is right. If the board doing what is right, we’ll achieve everything. it’s only when the board is not biased, the board is not corrupt, the board is not compromised, then we will achieve everything. So we wish that the board is not compromised, the board is up-to-date in their duties and so by 2020 we should achieve hundred percent content across board.
As a champion of this bill, so far do you think that the passion you use in driving this bill is being achieved is been achieved as at the moment?
Well, from what the executive secretary said, I am impressed. One thing is to say it, and then one thing is to do it. And that is why I am saying that the only way you can achieve all the things he is saying is to have hundred percent maximum participation of Nigerian companies, and the only way Nigerian companies do is to encourage them financially to do it. So, the Nigerian content fund is enough to do it. So, I believe and vividly believe that the money available in the fund can go a long way to assist the companies in built capacity and you know, measure up to international standards
About the funding, what messages do you have for the banks because a lot of
I have already said it there if the banks are not doing what they are supposed to be doing which means they don’t appreciate what we did and so we will have to…
What should be done?
the Nigerian content board to engage the banks and say we brought you money by the provision of this act, please use the money to support Nigerian content.
Finally, any recommendation for CWC?
I thank CWC, at least they invited me. Like I said, a lot of people said I have been forgotten, but CWC invited me and say they want to listen to me, and they CWC brought me here, so, I thank CWC and that is why I did not ask for attendance allowance.
Can you comment on the PIB?
Where I left the PIB is where it is now, I can’t comment for that.
They broke it into parts, right?
Look the PIB does not need to be broken into anything. What we put together was the bill that we supposed to pass as the PIB. Now they say there is PIGB, PICB, PIWB, that is not what we intend for the industry. You need political will to pass the bill, it is only when you have a president that is courageous that the bill can be passed. It is beyond the four wall of the national assembly, in fact, let me say that you need the courage of the senate, and the house to pass the bill because there is a lot of intrigues, and so if the senate and the house does not organise their selves into the national interest, because the PIB is all about the national interest. To pass the PIB, you don’t need to look at your interest or regional interest; you need to look at the national interest and that is why people like me, when the national interest is involved, we sacrificed regional interest. We sacrifice community interest and so once the senate and the house of reps, the relevant committees and the senate as a whole and the house as a whole are able to come up and defend the national interest, the PIB would be passed; and to defend national interest, you know, you need to make a lot of sacrifice over it.
Do you see the bill passed this year, In the eight assembly?
The way I am seeing it, no! But like I am a consultant to a lot of them. We are consulting to give them the real injection that will stimulate national interest in them.
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 908 6937 780 or send i-witness report directly to me on email@example.com.
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