The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has said that it had obtained all necessary approvals to re-launch the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCI Fund) with N72 billion ($200m)
Mr Sibi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of the Board, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos.
Wabote said the fund, which would be available for lending to qualified oil and gas players, had been increased from $100m to $200m to ensure that more deserving companies would benefit.
He said that the money would be disbursed directly by the Bank of Industry (BOI) at eight per cent interest rate and repayable within five years.
The board secretary said that this confirmation was coming as the management of Dangote petroleum refinery had agreed to select competent Nigerian vendors that would participate in the construction of the plant from the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Joint Qualification System (NOGICJQS).
He said that data on available capacity in the oil and gas industry was being managed by Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
The Chief Operating Officer in Dangote Refinery Project, Mr Giuseppe Surace, was quoted as saying that Dangote was committed to the project at a technical meeting held between top officials of the company and NCDMB at the refinery project site in Lekki, Lagos State.
He affirmed that there were many advantages in patronising the local market, stressing that “Nigerian companies will get the first right of refusal. We will procure anything that is available in Nigeria.”
The Dangote COO confirmed there were several Nigerian Content opportunities in the company’s refinery and gas gathering projects, but interested companies must submit competitive bids and have technical capabilities.
He explained that the project is a private investment, hence the strategy is to get the best quality anywhere in the world at the most competitive price.
Surace advised local vendors to quote reasonable prices when bidding for industry projects, rather than believe that they would win jobs because of the Nigerian Content Act, irrespective of expensive quotations they submitted.
He said that Dangote Group engaged the services of some Nigerian companies on its fertiliser project which had reached advance stage of development.
Surace said that Dangote was committed to do the same on the 650,000 barrels per day refinery project which would be completed in October 2019.
Wabote promised that the Board would assist the company in the utilization of the NOGICJQS database to ensure that it maximised the utilisation of local personnel, goods and services in the construction and operations phase of the project.
“The Nigerian Content Act applies to every player in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and not just international companies.
“If Nigerian companies and investors procure everything from abroad then the essence of the Act will be defeated,’’ he said.
Wabote said that slight cost differentials between Nigerian and foreign vendors should not be an excuse to export jobs.
He said that Nigerian companies were affected by high cost of funds and powering their operations with diesel generators, assuring that investments and initiatives by the Federal Government were already improving the power situation in the country.
Wabote sought the collaboration of Dangote Refinery to build infrastructure and human capacity that would support the operations phase of the project.