• As Dangote Refinery Moves For Local Vendors
By Nse Anthony-Uko
(Sundiata Post) – Nigeria’s local content is set to witness a significant leap as the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has obtained all necessary approval to relaunch the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCI Fund), the boar executive secretary Simbi Wabote has said.
Funds in the pool which is available for lending to qualified oil and gas players had been increased from $100 million to $200 million to ensure that more deserving companies benefit at the same time and the money will be disbursed directly by the Bank of Industry (BOI) at eight per cent interest rate and repaid within five years.
Wabote’s confirmation of this is coming as the management of Dangote Petroleum Refinery has agreed to select competent Nigerian vendors that will participate in the construction of the plant from the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Joint Qualification System (NOGICJQS), the database of available capacities in the oil and gas industry managed by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Chief operating officer, Dangote Refinery Project, Mr Giuseppe Surace committed to this at the 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 patronizing the local market, adding, “Nigerian companies will get the first right of refusal. We will procure anything that is available in Nigeria.” The 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. He 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 submit.
He noted that Dangote Group engaged the services of some Nigerian companies on its fertilizer project which had reached an advanced stage of development and was committed to do the same on the 650,000 barrels per day refinery project, which will be completed in October 2019.
In his comments, Wabote promised that the board will assist the company in the utilization of the NOGICJQS database, to ensure that it maximizes the utilization of local personnel, goods and services in the construction and operations phase of the project. He said, “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.”
Wabote maintained that slight cost differentials between Nigerian and foreign vendors should not be an excuse to export jobs, stressing that the opportunity cost of creating employment for Nigerians, developing local capacity, retaining spend in the economy and engendering a safe operating environment for companies justifies any marginal cost of execution charged by Nigerian vendors.
He explained that Nigerian companies were affected by high costs of funds and powering their operations with diesel generators, assuring however that investments and initiatives by the federal government was already improving the power situation in the country.
Speaking further, Wabote sought the collaboration of Dangote Refinery to build infrastructural and human capacity that would support the operations phase of the project, stating that “operations last for many years and there are huge opportunities to tap in from the local content perspective.”
He charged the company to develop and submit to it a list of support businesses that will be needed in the operations phase of the refinery so the board can build the capacity of Nigerian in those areas ahead of the project commencement. He also expressed the board’s preparedness to partner Dangote Refinery in setting up a world class welding school on the back of the refinery project.