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Post COVID-19 era: 7 reasons why N’Assembly must pass local content Bill

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By Yemi Itodo

As the world prepares for measures in boosting economies after the ease of global lockdown, the Nigerian National Assembly, is once again, saddled with the responsibility of coming up with legislative piece and actions that could help rejuvenate the nation’s economy and help Nigerians overcome post-Corona virus hardship. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

One swift step that must be taken by both Houses of the National Assembly, is to give serious attention to, and speedily pass the local content enforcement Bill.

The Bill which is known as, the Nigerian Local Content Development and Enforcement Bill 2020, passed second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, 19th May, 2020.

The Bill is being sponsored by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; Chairman, House Committee on Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring, Rep. Legor Idagbo and 7 others.

Amongst other things, the Bill seeks to expand the scope of local content in the extant NOGICD Act, thereby putting the Nigerian economy in the hands of Nigerians, creating jobs and enhancing the value of indigenous businesses in the post Covid-19 era.

Spokesman of the House, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, while analysing the general principles of the Bill in a statement on Monday, said, the idea of local content Bill or policy was to encourage local participation, ownership and control of certain key sectors by indigenous businesses.

“This is vital to preserving Nigeria’s socioeconomic independence and enhancing the ability of indigenous businesses to exploit local opportunities, while staying globally competitive”, Kalu said.

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Stressing further, the Spokesman said, “so far, the key local content legislation in Nigeria is the 10-year old Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 (NOGICDA), which established the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) but is limited to the oil sector.

“Also notable, are the President’s efforts to extend local content compliance to the public procurement practices of federal parastatals vide his Executive Orders 003 and 005.

“However, as we celebrate the Africa Day (May 25), a day commemorating Africa’s independence, liberation and socioeconomic freedom from foreign dominion and exploitation, and in the light of the current COVID-19 induced global economic position which has forced countries to look inwards for economic growth and sustainability, it has become imperative to extend local content policy beyond the Petroleum Industry to other critical sectors like, ICT, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Power, Solid Minerals, Construction, Health, etc, through comprehensive legislation”.

THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF THE BILL IN NIGERIA’S POST COVID-19 ERA:

  1. The Bill, when passed and assented to, will promote local manufacturing and economic diversification with focus on ICT, Agriculture, Solid Minerals, Hydrocarbon Refining and Power.

It provides for incentives to encourage local processing of hydrocarbon resources, export of processed minerals and agricultural commodities, local manufacturing of equipment, machinery, spares, chemicals, ICT hardwares, development of softwares and others.

The Local Content Bill also provides for standardisation of locally made goods and locally sourced raw materials to make them competitive in the international market.

  1. The Bill makes it mandatory for Nigerian made goods and services in all public procurements; Nigerian content philosophy as a key requirement in all public sector procurements; provides for creation of local content departments in MDAs and provides requirement for Nigerian Content Plan (NCP) on major projects (above N100m) outlining minimum Nigerian Content thresholds for materials, labour and services required on the project.
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It also strengthens Nigerian content requirements in solicitation of bids and requires Nigerian content compliance certificate as a pre-condition for contract awards; while recommending the creation of Nigerian Content Committee (NCC), to develop economy-wide local content policy.

  1. Creation of a robust R&D ecosystem to drive home grown technology development; promoting collaborations between Research institutions, product developers and end users of Research; as well as provision to incentives funding of research by public and private sector entities, is another green side of the Bill that would help develop the Nigerian system.
  2. In job creation drive to address unemployment, the Bill seeks to give first consideration to Nigerians with requisite skills in all public funded projects.

The Bill also provides for creation of national database of available skills amongst the Nigerian locals and requirements for approval and utilisation of expatriates will only role where there is immediate skills shortage.

  1. Local Content Enforcement Bill will address capacity building to develop resilient local supply chain; Provision for targeted sector-specific capacity building programmes and requirement to close capacity gaps in education, infrastructure, facilities and vendor development on the back of projects.
  2. Sustainable funding for local content is another clause in the Bill that will help promote and grow the Nigerian economy in Post COVID-19 era.

To achieve this, the Bill provides for creation of a Nigerian Content Trust Fund (NCTF), dedicated to implementing projects and programmes connected to developing local content. Application of the Fund to develop SMEs through low interest project-based financing schemes is also provided for in the Bill.

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  1. The enactment of the Nigerian Local Content Development and Enforcement Bill will strengthen executive-legislature synergy and oversight on local content administration in key sectors of the economy.

It will also provide necessary legislative backbone for implementation of key initiatives that will evolve from the Presidential Economic Sustainability Committee as well as other policy actions by the Executive aimed at repositioning the Nigerian economy in the post COVID-19 era.

As the House of Representatives resumes plenary on Tuesday, 2nd June, 2020, it is instructive to consider further legislative actions for the speedy passage of the all-important Nigerian Local Content Development and Enforcement Bill 2020.

The Nigerian Senate should also, as a matter of urgent national importance, consider the concurrence of the Bill when passed by the lower chamber, for the immediate assent of President Muhammad Buhari, for the good of our economy and the citizenry.

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NGIJ’s Call to President Tinubu: Address Economic and Security Concerns Before Nigerians Take to the Streets

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The Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) has calls on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his All Progressives Congress led-administration to swiftly address pressing issues relating to the economy and security of the country, before Nigerians take to the streets. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

In a statement issued on Friday in Abuja, jointly signed by the President and National Secretary of The Guild, Mr. Ayoyemi Mojoyinola and Abdulrahman Aliagan respectively.

“We believe that urgent action is needed in order to prevent further deterioration of these crucial aspects of Nigerian society to avoid street protest that may have negative effect on the nation at large. NGIJ stated.

According to the statement, “We implore the Tinubu led-government to immediately put an end to the dollarisation of the Nigerian economy.

“We noted that the excessive reliance on foreign currency has had a detrimental effect on our nation’s economic stability and is hindering the growth and development of local businesses.

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“It is vital that steps are taken to promote the use of the Nigerian Naira and protect its value.” The Guild said.

“Secondly, we request that the government formulates a comprehensive policy to mitigate the impact of the Fuel Subsidy removal. This decision has burdened Nigerian citizens with high fuel prices and has resulted in increased living costs for many. It is imperative that measures are put in place to alleviate the financial strain on the Nigerian people.”

NGIJ however expresses concern regarding the distribution of the N15,000 palliative. “We firmly believe that this aid will be marred by corruption and will not reach those who are most in need. It is crucial that efficient and transparent mechanisms are established to ensure that relief funds reach the intended beneficiaries.

“Additionally, we urge the government to consider policies that are inclusive and benefit all Nigerians. It is imperative that measures are implemented which take into account a wide spectrum of the population, ensuring that they have access to essential services and a decent standard of living.” NGIJ maintained.

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The Guild pointed out that the issue of insecurity in Nigeria has reached extreme levels, causing distress and fear among citizens.

“No place is safe, and urgent action must be taken to address this matter effectively.

“We call upon the government to prioritise the security of its people and implement strategies that can restore peace and stability throughout the nation.

“Finally, as a body of Journalists, we implore President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to provide sustainable solutions that will guide Nigeria out of its current economic and security quagmire. It is crucial that decisive action is taken to steer the country back onto the right track, both economically and in terms of security.” It said.

The Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) stands ready to support the government in addressing these critical issues and will remain vigilant in ensuring that the interests of the Nigerian people are upheld.

“We therefore call on President to consider our recommendations and take immediate action to propel Nigeria forward towards economic prosperity and security of lives and property in Nigeria. The statement concludes.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
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 +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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NGIJ Mourns Access Bank Holdings’ CEO, Herbert Wigwe, Ogunbanjo

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The Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) has consoled Access Bank Holdings over the tragic death of their Group Chief Executive Officer Dr. Herbert Wigwe and his family. push({});

This is contained in a statement jointly signed by President and National Secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ), Ayoyemi Mojoyinola
and Abdulrahman Aliagan respectively and made available to journalists, Monday in Lagos.

According to the Statement, This tragic event has sent shockwaves throughout the nation, as Dr. Herbert Wigwe was a highly respected and prominent figure in the Nigerian banking industry. His leadership and commitment to excellence have contributed immensely to the growth and success of Access Bank Holdings.

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“The loss of Dr. Wigwe, his wife and eldest son is indeed a great loss to the business community, the banking industry, and the nation at large. Their untimely demise leaves a void that will be difficult to fill. We mourn with the Access Bank Holdings family, who have lost not only a dedicated leader but also a mentor and friend.”

As journalists devoted to unbiased and thorough investigative reporting, NGIJ recognizes the importance of highlighting the contributions and achievements of individuals like Mr. Wigwe. His visionary leadership, innovative strategies, and passion for the growth and development of Access Bank Holdings have set an exemplary standard for others in the industry. The statement said.

“The NGIJ extends its heartfelt condolences to the entire Access Bank Holdings family, and we stand with them during this time of immense sorrow. We pray that God grants them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss and provides solace and strength to overcome this challenging period.” The statement said.

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The Guild prayed that the Almighty God will grant soul Wigwe, his wife, and son eternal rest.

Similarly, NGIJ also mourns former Group Chairman of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Abimbola Ogunbanjo who also passed on inside the chopper crash alongside Wigwe.

The Guild acknowledges Ogunbanjo’s service to the nation, building world and nation building.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
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 +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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Shocker, as FCSC Reverses NBMA Director’s Promotion granted 3 years ago

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The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) is enmeshed in confusion as the promotion of Dr. Rebecca O.J. Oamen, the Director of Administration and Finance, has been reversed by the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) three years after it was granted. push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

This shocking event is as a result of the conflict centering around Dr. Agnes Asagbra, the Director General of NBMA, and Dr. Oamen, who are on one side of the dispute, and several other top civil servants on the other.

According to sources, the disagreement began when Dr. Asagbra allegedly facilitated the appointment of Mr. Ehikhamenor Steve Ehiochoya from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) as the agency’s Director of Administration and Finance.

According to sources, Dr. Oamen had voiced her concerns regarding the appointment to several government offices, including the OAGF, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, the Ministry of Environment, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offices Commission.

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However, in a document obtained by our reporter, Dr. Oamen was redeployed to the FCSC as an accountant in the deputy director cadre, implying a demotion. This transfer is contradictory to Dr. Oamen’s previous promotion to a substantive director by the NBMA board.

Documents from 2016 and 2020 confirm her initial appointment as deputy director of finance and subsequent promotion to director, both under the tenure of former NBMA Director General Dr. Rufus Ebegba. However, the FCSC claims that her transfer to the agency was an error and directed her immediate recall to her previous position as Chief Executive Officer (Accounts) GL. 14.

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As a result, Dr. Oamen’s salary for December 2023 has allegedly been withheld, according to an anonymous source within the agency.

This development has prompted calls for intervention from prominent figures, including President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to address the perceived injustice.

While Dr. Asagbra was not available for comment, Ugo Agwu Nnachi, Head of Human Resources Management at NBMA, and Gloria Ogbaki, Head of Communications, denied any wrongdoing on her part. They emphasized that the DG has no authority to reject postings made by the OAGF and that the agency cannot be faulted for the actions taken by the FCSC.

The former NBMA Director General, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, supported Dr. Oamen’s promotion and commended her professionalism.

However, Dr. Oamen herself declined to comment on the matter, redirecting inquiries to the appropriate authorities.

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Author Profile

Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
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 +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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