The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has warned that it will no longer be business as usual for oil and gas companies that fail to comply with the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act as offenders will henceforth be dragged before the law courts.
NCDMB Executive Secretary, Simbi Kesiye Wabote, sounded the note of warning Tuesday in Abuja, at the first national seminar for Justices and Judges on the “Role of the Judiciary in the Development of the Nigerian Local Content Law and Policy, organised by the Juris Law Office and NCDMB in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
He noted that the NCDMB had used administrative procedures to enforce the Act in the past eight years but will begin to prosecute cases of infringement in line with Section 68 of Nigerian Content Act.
“We are changing gear in NCDMB from writing letters of non-compliance on infractions to actual prosecution of offenders who think they can trample on the law of the land on Local Content and get away with it.”
The Executive Secretary said the board delayed the prosecution option because it wanted to fully exploit the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods, develop its operating guidelines and organise capacity building workshops on the Nigeria Content Act for the Judiciary.
“After this workshop, we will begin to institute cases in the courts. If we don’t enforce the provisions of the Act, we will not be able to create employment opportunities for Nigerians from the activities in the industry.”
Giving details of the board’s achievements, Wabote explained that most fabrication, engineering, and procurement in the oil and gas industry were done abroad prior to the enactment of the NOGICD Act in 2010, which resulted in estimated capital flight of $380 billion in 50 years.
“Estimated job loss opportunities was in the region of two million. The narrative then was that nothing can be done in-country resulting in less than five per cent of in-country value addition.”
He added that much of the 28 per cent local content achievement recorded since the enactment of the Act till date were done using the passion and commitment of the various directorates in the board.
According to him, “our next big leap from 28 per cent to 70 per cent in-country value retention will require step change in the enforcement of the law to drive reversal of capital outflow.”