By Ignatius Okorocha
Ahead of debate on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by National Assembly, members of Senate Committee on local content and stakeholders in the oil and gas sector on Monday welcomed move to put up a legislation on implementation of local content in the nation’s petroleum industry.
The two groups spoke at a joint National Assembly Committees on Local Content aimed at harmonising three bills meant to end foreign dominance of the sector.
The proposed legislations are, Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010 (Amendment) Bill, and the Nigerian Local Content Enforcement Bill, 2020
The third one is the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act, 2010(Repeal and Re-Enactment Bill, 2020.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content, Teslim Folarin, said the bills were very important and sacrosanct to the development of the oil and gas industry.
He said the sector remained the most viable sectors of the nation’s economy.
According to lawmaker, the bills were aimed at consolidating on the gains of the implementation of local content component in the oil and gas industry, pursuant to the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010.
He also said the proposed legislations would provide the needed legal framework for the implementation of local content in other key sectors of the economy, including power, ICT, construction and transportation.
Folarin added that the enactment of the bill, would provide the legal basis for the enforcement of the Presidential Executive Order No. 5 of 2018.
The executive order, according to him, sought to improve local content procurement with regards to science, engineering and technology components of the economy.
He said the bills were not made part of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010 because of the peculiarity of the oil and gas industry,
He said the sector requires a specialised legislation for effective and efficient management of its operations and activities.
The chairman said the bills would ensure that the governance structure of the NOGICD Act, was not distorted.
He urged the stakeholders to take critical looks at the bills to know whether we need to amend the extant Act or to set up the proposed Commission to achieve the same purpose.
The representative of the oil and gas workers in the country, Mr Festus Osiifo, commended the provisions of the bill but maintained that the investors must not have more than two security expatriate.
He said the essence was to ensure that the security of the nation’s oil and gas sector was not jeopardised.
Osifo also said the bill should ensure that the expatriates in the oil and gas sector must not spend more than three years in the country.
Similarly, the representative of the Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria, Mr. Wilson Ali, also hailed the bill but demanded that unqualified and incompetent expatriate should not be considered for roles meant for experts in the sector.