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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.

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.

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.

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“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.

  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.
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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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2023: “Tinubu Championing Modern democracy with power of delegation” – Senator Kalu

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Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has said that the ability of the Presidential flag bearer of the All Progressive’s Congress (APC) , Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu to delegate responsibilities to competent persons in Authority will be beneficial for the country when eventually elected.

Shedding more light, the former Abia Governor noted that Tinubu’s skill to assign responsibilities is in line with the contemporary requirements of modern democracy, noting that the era of leaders single handedly conceiving and executing policies was over.

Kalu made this assertion while speaking on Political Paradigm, a political programme of Channels Television aired on Monday.

The Chieftain of the ruling APC cited the rapid growth of Lagos State to back his assertion, explaining that Tinubu as Governor had set the stage for development in the state. Kalu maintained the consistent political platform of Lagos put in place by the former Lagos Governor since 1999 has added to the growth and development witnessed in the state over the years.

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He said ; “Tinubu will be one of the greatest Presidents we shall ever have because of the skill of delegation. He has the skill and the modern way of leading people is no longer everything (Powers) to yourself.

“You must assign the job to other people who are competent , you must tell the people to do it and he has proven that as Governor of Lagos and after.

“Why Lagos is growing is because the leadership has been under one route and political party since 1999. So consistency matters a lot. I believe that Tinubu will do a lot of things differently for the benefit of Nigerians especially the business people.

“Lagos is a business center and he knows we can’t Govern effectively without involving the business people,so we have to enter a strong partnership with them.

“When people said Buhari wasn’t going to support Bola Tinubu, we went to the President and told him this is our party it’s not about anybody and you can see the President has come out willingly to identify and campaign for our party .

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Responding to questions on the alleged ill health of the APC Presidential Candidate, Senator Orji Kalu dismissed the claims describing them as mere public insinuations.

Kalu clarified that Bola Tinubu was very stable and healthy, he revealed that the Presidential hopeful works round the clock to attend to campaign activities and retires to bed at “3am” Daily.

Kalu added that it was normal for humans above the age of 40 years to witness few health challenges, which however can be managed to function effectively.

“His (Tinubu’s) health is very stable. No man above 40 is not sick. There is not one, no Nigerian above 40 that is not sick,” Kalu said on the pre-recorded Channels TV Programme.

The APC chieftain also stressed that some political opponents forged incoherent statements attributed to Tinubu at rallies.

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“These are things you people go to forge on the internet. All these things can be forged by political opponents,” he said.

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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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Xmas: Ajia Felicitates with Christians, Solicits For Prayers Over National Challenges

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The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP House of Representatives candidate for Ilorin West and Asa Federal Constituency Ibrahim Muhammed Ajia has felicitated with Christians in the country on the occasion of Christmas which is a commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, urging them to use the festive season to pray fervently for the nation to overcome its present challenges. 
 
Ajia in a Christmas message issued by his Media Team in Ilorin on the Christmas Day, calls on Christians to continue to live in peace, harmony and tolerance with adherents of other religions. 
 
In his greetings, “I felicitate with all Nigerians, especially Christian brothers and sisters on the joyous occasion of this year’s Christmas.
 
“On this occasion commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, let us all recommit ourselves to the virtues and ideals of peace, love and justice as exemplified by the Christ.
 
The House of Reps candidate added that, Christians must never forget the essence and lessons of Christmas by always reflecting on the teachings of the Messiah who paid the ultimate price for the benefit of mankind..
 
He admonished Christians to mould their lives after Jesus Christ, by showing love to people around them and be their brothers’ keepers at all times. 
 
Ajia however reiterated the PDP’s commitment to the people’s welfare and assured them of his readiness to be fair and just to the people of his constituency irrespective of their religious differences. 
 
The Founder of MAI Foundation distributes rice and cash gift to the Christian faithful in his constituency to further demonstrate his readiness to support the needy within his constituency irrespective of their backgrounds. 
 
He therefore reaffirms his commitment to partner with every Community Development Association, Religious leaders and groups in order to maintain peaceful coexistence and bringing rapid growth and sustainable development to Asa and Ilorin West Federal Constituency. 

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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2023 Elections: Why CBN Cashless Policy is Raising Dusts

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The Coalition of National Civil Society Organisations (CNCSOS)  has raised alarm over the recent developement concerning the CBN cashless policy.

This is contained in a world press conference by the coalition in Abuja today.

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The group said, “As you all know, the country was jolted when a group of human rights lawyers and some civil society organisations raised the alarm that there was a plot to frame the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele in terrorism financing allegation.”

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“The gravity of what Nigeria was confronted with came to the front burner when members of the group revealed that the Department of State Services (DSS) had even gone to the extent of approaching the court to obtain a warrant to arrest Godwin Emefiele without the consent or knowledge of the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); ”

“The Coalition of National Interest Defenders, which brought the development to the open, went ahead to allege that the plot was to keep Mr. Emefiele for at least 60 days until after the general elections next year. This should ring a bell when we recall that this alleged plot is coming immediately after the redesign of the naira notes and the review of the cash withdrawal limits for both individuals and organisations.”

“We have all hailed the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria such that even the corrupt politicians who are opposing the cash withdrawal limits acknowledge that it is the way to go but that the timing was wrong. They also sort to get wavers for election spending. Why are they looking for wavers? They want to use our stolen commonwealth to buy our votes.”

“In view of the current revelation, we are afraid that the State Security Service is derailing from its statutory role to becoming a tool in the hands of desperate politicians. This is dangerous for the country and must be discouraged at any cost.”

“Those who wants to receive and spend money without any traces are those who have been kicking against the cashless policy of the CBN. If you have legitimate money, why are you afraid to wire the money through bank transfers? Why are you afraid of cash withdrawal limits? There is no limit to the amount you can transfer through the bank but because they are having our stolen money, they don’t want to make traceable transactions and that is the sin of Godwin Emefiele. That’s why they want him out of the way before the election so that someone who can do their biddings is appointed to reverse the cashless policy implementation.”

“We must note that President Muhammadu Buhari has shown maximum support for the economic stability and reform efforts of the CBN Governor and that was probably why they wanted to remove him from office without the consent of Mr. President.”

“At this juncture, we hail the Nigerian judiciary for refusing to be used for the planned hatchet job. It is unfortunate but it happened.”

“According to reports, the affidavit filed by the State Security Service in support of its application claimed that preliminary investigation had revealed various acts of terrorism financing and fraudulent activities perpetrated by Godwin Emefiele and his involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension but there was no evidence. Hence, the court rejected to issue order for the arrest of the CBN Governor. Even, the identity of the said Godwin Emefiele, as the sole respondent, was not clearly stated in the affidavit according to the court, which made the plot more of a shoddy deal.”

“And, in view of a reasonable suspicion that some politicians may have influenced the State Security Service in the planned arrest of Godwin Emefiele, we join well-meaning Nigerians and groups to the call on President Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to immediately put in motion the processes of suspending and thoroughly investigating the circumstances surrounding this national and international embarrassment. The attempt to obtain a backyard order to remove a high ranking officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for obvious political reasons should be of serious concern to all Nigerians as we don’t know who will be the next.”

“”By virtue of Section 150(1) and Section 174 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the Attorney-General of the Federation has the powers to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court of law in Nigeria. Therefore, nothing stops the Attorney-General of the Federation from exercising his powers in this matter to send a clear signal to the international community that Nigeria is not a banana republic, where anything goes. If public office holders who err are not appropriately sanctioned, it will send a wrong signal to foreign investors and project Nigeria as a country without rule of law.

“”This is paramount as Section 174 (3) expressly stated that “In exercising his powers under this section, the Attorney-General of the Federation shall have regard to the public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process.” What is primarily at stake here is public interest.

“”We hereby urge President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN Governor never to relent in their efforts to place Nigeria among the best 20 economies in the world in line with the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“”We assure Mr. Godwin Emefiele that Nigerians on the streets, who are in pains of starvation and hunger due to the continued looting of public funds meant for their well-being by some politicians, are standing with him and will vehemently resist any attempt to derail the cashless policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“”We also commend the Federal Government on the exemplary leadership with the ban on cash withdrawals from public accounts. The stoppage of cash withdrawal from all public accounts is another legacy in the war against corruption and electoral fraud by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. The ban on cash withdrawals and subsequent directive to public officers to immediately open domiciliary accounts in foreign and local currencies ahead of the commencement of the cash withdrawal policy will deepen the gains of the cashless policy of the federal government through the CBN.

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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