Dangote Refinery good example of local content, as stakeholders seek conducive environment to attract more investment

Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDM), Mr Simbi Wabote, says the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery project is an actualisation of Local Content development in Nigeria. Wabote said this while fielding questions from newsmen at the ongoing 9th Practical Nigerian Content Forum in Yenagoa. Meanwhile Oil and Gas industry stakeholders called for a streamlined regulatory environment to attract investment and make the sector competitive. The stakeholders made the submission at the ongoing Practical Nigerian Content Conference and Exhibitions holding in Yenagoa. The theme of the conference is “Leveraging Local Expertise for Market Growth and Expansion”. During a panel discussion on “Facilitating a commercially viable business environment through inter agency collaboration” the speakers noted that a one-stop shop model for regulatory agencies was desirable. Mr Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), said the board had taken steps to reduce bureaucracy that prolonged the contracting cycle in the oil and gas sector. He said that NCDMB had simplified most of its approval processes by automating them to ensure seamless and swift issuance of regulatory clearance to operators. He said the board recently automated the approval processes for approval of expatriate quotas to guide the Ministry of Interior for the issuance of expatiate quota. Sen.  

Teslim Folarin, Chairman Senate Committee on Nigerian Content, said that following the success recorded by NCDMB, the legislature was planning to extend the Nigerian Content Law to other sectors of the economy. The sectors envisaged to be covered by the new law include power, ICT, construction , telecoms amongst other sectors. He said that the Senate planned to repeal the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act 2010 and re-enact the Act to include modifications that would  make the new legislation to apply to other sectors. Also, Mr Victor Okoronkwo, Managing Director, Aiteo Eastern Exploration,  who spoke for the Oil Producers Trade Section of Lagos Chamber of Commerce, said that the group was yearning for improvement on Nigeria’s ease of doing business. He said  multiple  taxes and overlapping responsibilities by government agencies were  adversely affecting the profit margins of oil firms, a development that discouraged the inflow of investment capital. According to him, the sector remains open to dialogue with government to make the Nigerian oil and gas sector competitive to attract more investment. 

Dangote refinery owned by the Dangote Group is under construction in Lekki Free Trade Zone, Nigeria. When completed, it will have a capacity to process about 650,000 barrels per day of crude oil. Wabote said that project was the only way to drive local content, especially by establishing  it in the country. “Dangote might as well have taken the refinery elsewhere but deciding to execute the project in Nigeria is a plus. Secondly, at the peak of the construction of the refinery, about 65, 000 workers are on site, and the majority of those workers in terms of ratio that are providing various services are Nigerians. Also, there is a lot of sub-contracts that have been awarded, contracts within the project site, the majority of those contracts are executed by Nigerian companies. To a very large extent, that is an example of believing in your country and trying to do things to enhance the development of your country,” he said. Wabote commended the company’s plan to integrate young Nigerian graduates to manage the refinery, noting that the younger ones remained the future for the industry.

“Those of us at the industry, at 60 we will all retire and then these engineers will take over from us.

Commenting on failure of proper management of the country’s refineries,  he said that the state of the current four refineries should not  be likened to Dangote Refinery. According to him, Dangote Refinery is a private investment that will do everything possible to run and maintain the refinery effectively. “The other four refineries are government-run, and most times government is not in the position to run businesses effectively because of so many factors. Private investors will do a lot better than when you have the government run it. This is why they have pushed for privatisation of refineries. An example of private individual handling an asset is the case of Hilton Hotel in Abuja which has been privatised. Currently, you can see the profitability and what has been achieved thus far because it is being run privately. Dangote Refinery is purely private initiative and he will put everything well to ensure it is run successfully,” Wabote said. 

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