Stories by Adewale Sanyaolu
Except stiffer sanctions are meted out to defaulters of the one per cent statutory remittance for oil and gas contracts executed in the upstream sector, the gains of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act of 2010 would continue being eroded.
The (NOGICD) Act of 2010 gives the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) the mandate to manage the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) and deploy it for projects, programmes and activities directed at increasing Nigerian content in the oil and gas industry.
The Act equally provides that one per cent of every contract in the upstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry shall be deducted at source and paid into the fund.
The NCDF, according to the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, is currently going through some restructuring that will ensure that operators reap the benefits inherent in the fund.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had at the Nigerian Content Investment Forum (NCIF) organised by SweetCrude in partnership with the NCDMB in Houston, Texas, United States, said the fund had grown to $600 million from $500 million, adding that the management of NCDMB, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks, are reviewing its guidelines to ease access by indigenous players in the oil service industry.
He also said the Federal Government plans to review tariffs in oil and gas sector that hinder competitiveness of locally manufactured goods and extend fiscal incentives to all investors that have oil and gas facilities close to rural oil producing communities.
Addressing Nigeria’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Houston’s Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), he said specific areas of focus for local content development include infrastructure, fiscal incentives, funding, addressing long contracting cycle, and in-country processing of hydrocarbon resources.
NCDF under BGL
The NCDF never recorded the much growth it ought to have achieved under the erstwhile financial advisers – United Capital and BGL Limited.
In actualising the NCDF’s mandate, the Act also empowers the NCDMB to engage financial advisers to define modalities for the fund’s utilisation as well as identify and attract other sources of funds to augment the aspiration.
Stakeholders had wondered why, despite being in operation for seven years, only Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Limited (LADOL), Starz and Vandrezzer have so far received some facility from the fund out of the thousands of local operators in the oil and gas sector.
It was learnt that the fund, which has United Capital and BGL Limited as advisers may have further toughened its guidelines to make it difficult for some operators to scale through the conditions for accessing loans.
This is even as one of the financial advisers, BGL, is going through a very difficult time, which has forced the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ban its Managing Director, Albert Okumagba, and his Deputy, Chibundu Edozie, from participating in capital market activities for life infractions.
$100m Bol/NCIF to the rescue
The appointment of Wabote may, however, signal some light at the end of the tunnel for the NCDF with the board signing a $100 million Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bank of Industry (BoI) under the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCIF).
The NCDMB boss explained that to enhance accessibility to the fund, the board, in July 2016, signed an MoU with BoI to establish NCIF.
NCIF provides long term facilities to contributors to NCDF on the basis of all-in 8 per cent interest rate.
He said, ‘‘As soon as we finalise the process for release of the initial $100 million (N31 billion) to BoI for the pilot phase, contributors to the fund with manufacturing proposals in the oil and gas industry can approach BoI for the NCIF facility, which has a single obligor limit of$10 million and tenor of up to five-10 years.”
He explained that the revised operating model also has provision for other managed fund schemes for asset acquisition, project finance and contractor finance (especially for community contractors).
These schemes, he said, are to be executed through other development institution(s) and commercial bank(s) including the proposed Development Bank of Nigeria.
The NCIF is a pool made available by NCDMB to meet the funding needs of manufacturers, service providers and other key players in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
Acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, for his part explained at the MoU signing ceremony that the need to build in-country capacity informed the decision of BoI to partner NCDMB in the management of the fund.
Olagunju said it remained regrettable that 60 years after Nigeria discovered oil in Oloibiri, a small community in present day Bayelsa State, it is still largely import dependent. The NCIF, according to him, will attract a single digit interest rate of 8 per cent with a tenor ranging from one to 10 years, a maximum moratorium of 12 months (from date of loan disbursement), $10 million maximum obligor limit and assurance of speedy processing.
Giving further insight into the NCIF, the erstwhile Acting Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Daziba Patrick Obah, said as part of the operating model for utilisation of NCDF, two Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) were incorporated to oversee the fund’s administration while an NCDF Advisory Committee comprising industry representatives (IOCs, PETAN, OGTAN, BoI) was inaugurated to provide oversight function and guide the board on utilisation of the fund.
‘‘Fund’s utilisation was anchored on the principle that it should not be depleted within the short term taking into consideration the feedback from the industry, a case was made for a redesign of the operating model in favour of direct on-lending to Nigerian Oil and Gas Service Providers (NOSPs)
The NCDF model has now been reviewed and the key features of the revised operating model include compliance with Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government, direct on-lending to beneficiaries under competitive terms while leveraging on experience of BoI in development financing,’’ he had said.
Making remittance to NCDF
According to Wabote, the introduction of the TSA policy by the Federal Government and the need to deepen accessibility of the fund for critical activities created the need to re-engineer the operating model of NCDF.
He explained that the board has fully complied with the TSA policy by opening naira and foreign currency accounts in CBN, into which all NCDF remittances are to be made, stressing that NCDMB does not operate account in any commercial bank, advising contributors to pay all remittances into the NCDF accounts in CBN.
Payments can be made into the NCDF naira, euro, dollars and pounds accounts of NCDMB with the central bank.
Operators should equally note that payment into the account would be based on the currency under which it was signed. If a contract was executed with the dollar currency, an operator cannot pay in naira or euro, hence, the different currency account with CBN.
On the other hand, operators shall include the following information on the NCDF remittance form – vendor’s name, registered company’s address, contract award date, contract description, contract reference no, gross value of contract, ledger payment date, currency, invoice amount, 1 per cent deduction amount.
Benin Disco graduates 200 technician trainees
Operators efforts to enhance customer service delivery received a boost recently as the Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc (BEDC) has inducted 200 graduate trainees and technicians under the 2nd set of its Graduate Trainee Programme (GTP) scheme under its Technician Trainee Programme (TTP).
Managing Director/CEO of BEDC, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, while unveiling the new set of graduates explained that BEDC was the first Disco to demonstrate commitment in using young trainees to change the face of the power sector.
She explained that the objective of the scheme was to train and groom existing and newly recruited young engineers, computer scientists and other analytical graduates as well as non-graduate technicians for BEDC on the knowledge and best technical practices for meeting and exceeding the expectations of the customers in the power industry.
Osibodu hinted that the trainees were well rounded, knowledgeable and fit to lead the revolution expected in fulfilment of the core objective of the power sector privatisation, adding that the programme was the end result of a fruitful partnership between Vigeo Power Academy, a core investor in BEDC and Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Akure, Ondo State.
“On our part as a company, we have implemented series of network improvement initiatives and resolved the backlog of metering requests at takeover having installed close to 150,000 meters and added new injection substations to provide relief to overloaded network, resolved a lot of customer complaints and provided several distribution transformers with dedicated distribution lines for high end customers.’’
In his goodwill message, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, lauded the target of BEDC to train 2,000 technicians within the next four years as part of efforts to complement the state government’s creation of 2,000 jobs.
“We like what BEDC is doing. We will like you to consider expanding the programme by collaborating with the Benin Technical College (BTC). The state government will provide the facilities for the training of a minimum of 2,000 technicians over the next four years.”