The Senate yesterday passed for second reading, a bill seeking amendment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010. The bill, sponsored by Senator Teslim Folarin, seeks to amend 38 Sections of the extant Act while introducing six new sections.
In his leading debate on the bill, Senator Folarin said the essence was to bring the provisions of the sections to be amended into congruence with industry best practices. He said the amendment to Section 11 captured in the new bill would give powers to the Minister of Petroleum to review the minimum target level for Nigerian content set in the schedule where the level is considered beyond the capacity of Nigerian companies by the board.
The amendment proposed to Section 33 of the Act would streamline and strengthen the process for obtaining expatriate quota to close the gap for current leakages and manipulation by foreign companies. Amendments to Sections 37, 38 and 39 in the bill are to improve the provisions relating to research and development and to ensure proper implementation, while Section 76 is proposed to give the Governing Council of the Board the role of Superintending over the conditions of service of employees of the board.
Section 81 was also introduced to empower the Senate to screen and approve nomination of the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) before confirmation. The lawmaker recalled that before the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act came into force in 2019, over ninety percent of the $20 billion spent yearly in the Nigerian oil and gas industry was repatriated abroad. “This was because a large chunk of the contracts were executed by foreign companies and in foreign facilities. With only few indigenous players and facilities participating in the contracting process in the industry, Nigerian content was less than five percent”, he said.