Huge capital flight worries Nigerian Content Board

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The
Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has irked by
the high capital flight and harped on the need to revive iron and steel
industry to
reduce the ameliorate the situation. 
The board explained that the huge capital flight from 
the importation of iron and steel used in the nation’s oil and gas industry was responsible for the capital flight.
The revival of iron steel, it said, is important to boost local content and oil and gas production in the country.
The
Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, said in Lagos in a paper
presented at a sensitisation seminar on Local Content Development in
Shipping, Oil
and Gas Logistics Operations in Nigeria, organised by the Maritime
Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN).
Wabote was represented by Dr. Ginah Ginah, General Manager, Corporate Communication and Zonal Co-ordination, NCDMB.
“Our country does not have an efficient steel industry and everything in oil and gas industry requires steel.
”Nigeria
is losing a huge foreign exchange to importation of steel. Steel used
in the industry is imported; government has to do something to revive
iron and
steel industry. Local content in the sector will jump to 50 per cent if
we produce steel locally,’’ he said.
Wabote
said that the industry was confronted with shortage of research
institutes as most of the oil and gas researches used to develop and
carry out exploration
were usually done abroad.
He
also noted that most of the pipelines transporting petroleum products
were weak as a result of many decades of usage and not necessarily
damaged by militants.
Talking
on how to mitigate the impact of these challenges on the growth of the
industry, Wabote informed that the organisation had set aside 200
million dollars
as Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCIF) and domiciled with the
Bank of Industry, which the bank would give out as loans to local
investors at an 8 per cent interest.
 He added that the essence of the NCIF is to save the industry from foreign dominance and provide fund to empower
and boost capacity of Nigerian participants in oil and gas production.
He
expressed displeasure that the disbursement of the loan by Bank of
Industry was very slow as only three stakeholders had benefited.
Noting
that oil and gas is a specialised industry, he said that NCDMB is in
the process of establishing research institutes that will be domiciled
in four universities
and also in discussion with the National Universities Commission (NUC)
on the review of curricular of petroleum studies.
He
noted that the establishment of the research institutes would save the
country foreign exchange being spent on researches abroad.
He
said that most of the Nigerian universities that could have produced
manpower for the industry were running out-dated curricular which has
made their products
inadequate to take rightful positions in the industry.
He
enumerated many achievements recorded by the organization and noted
that lack of production of steel locally was among the challenges
slowing down oil and
gas industry from recording the expected growth.
Wabote
maintained that non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Governing Bill
and high costs of production have pushed back investors.
He
also noted that most of the pipelines transporting petroleum products
were weak as a result of many decades of usage and not necessarily
damaged by militants.
Earlier
in his welcome address, Mr. Anya Njoku, President of MARAN, noted that
the essence of the seminar was for stakeholders to exchange ideas on how
to revive
complexities associated with local content operations in shipping, oil
and gas and operational logistics.
Njoku
maintained that it was very important for the country to take over
operations in these sub-sectors to enable Nigerians make gains of these
sub-sectors
while calling on Armed Forces – Army, Navy, Police and even Customs to
work in line with the Nigerian constitutional provisions and standards
set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other
international organisations on how to conduct smooth
commercial shipping and logistics in the nation’s sea and waterways.