Fred Itua, Abuja
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, have said efforts must be made to strengthen the country’s local capacities for the nation’s economy to experience exponential growth.
Lawan and Gbajabiamila made the assertion during a virtual opening of the Nigerian Content Summit jointly organised by the Senate Committee on Local Content and House of Representatives Committees on Content Development and Monitoring.
Lawan said the improvement of local capacities has become imperative particularly against the fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Lawan, the Summit, seeks “to stimulate understanding on the short and long-term implications of relevant Bills before the two houses.”
He added that “the Bills, including the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB.417), Nigerian Local Content Enforcement Bill, 2020 (SB. 419), and the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act, 2020 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2020 (SB. 420), are obviously to increase composite value addition.
“This value addition expectedly developed from within, with the aid of local services and resources in the petroleum industry, should contribute to local capacity building, with considerations for the elements of health, safety and quality.”
He underscored the need to develop the nation’s local capacities, adding that, “we need to also appreciate that our social and economic conditions need continuous reviews for development, with a good quantum of home-grown fundamentals, and especially considering the new realities, brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic reminds us of the need for resource independence, the strengthening of local capacity, and the importance of increasing indigenous variables in the Oil and Gas production, and in other areas.
“The overall aim of this is the promotion of industrialization of the nation’s all-important Oil and Gas sectors, for enhancing the wellbeing of those in the industry and the overall growth of the Nigerian economy.
“We are actually at a time for more inward reflection, through the enhancement of internal capacity, towards productivity and efficiency, for national progress. This is all to satisfy the yearnings and aspirations of the people,” Lawan said.
On his part, Gbajabiamila, said that Nigeria like other countries must look inwards to develop the skills and capacities required sustain local production.
He said: “These Bills reflect and represent this national imperative. In 2010 the National Assembly enacted the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act.
“I am proud of my colleagues who have championed these Bills because again they reflect the sort of legislative support we had committed to provide the executive with respect to government policies and programs.
“When we were inaugurated as the 9th National Assembly, we made a commitment to Nigerians to cooperate with the executive and other arms of government to deliver good governance to Nigerians. That is and has remained our priority.”
The chairman Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Teslim Folarin, said the summit was part of a pre-public hearing stakeholders’ engagement to obtain the input of stakeholders into the proposed legislations.
“These legislations seek to consolidate on the gains made in implementing Local Content in the oil and gas industry pursuant to the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act 2010 and providing the legal framework for the implementation of Local Content in other key sectors of the economy,” Folarin said.