More than a decade after the Federal Government began the process to ensure that the strategic oil and gas industry achieves 70 per cent Nigerian content in all aspects of its operations by 2010, the major beneficiaries of the policy have said the set target is absolutely not feasible.
President of Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), Engr. Shawley Coker, told The Tide in an exclusive interview last Tuesday, that the “Federal Government’s target of 70 per cent Nigerian content in the oil and gas business by 2010 is absolutely impossible to achieve”.
However, the leading oil and gas exploration and production companies led by Shell and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), represented by the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), had Monday, assured they would do everything to comply with the federal government directives on Nigerian content development and the achievement of the 70 per cent target by 2010.
With membership of more than 40, PETAN is the umbrella body of leading indigenous technical oilfield service companies in the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry, whose vision is the domestication of petroleum technology in Nigeria, and an arm of the very influential Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NCCIMA).
Coker spoke in the backdrop of the first-ever Nigerian Content Development Day/Exhibition, hosted by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria in Port Harcourt, last Monday, which he described as a very significant milestone in the effort to facilitate the development of Nigerian content in the oil and gas business.
The PETAN president praised the doggedness and resilience of most indigenous entrepreneurs in the oil and gas sector, who he said, “are doing their best to make an impact in the industry, even as they face the turbulent and gloomy business climate in the country,” stressing that most of the indigenous service companies were only struggling to remain in business because the conditions in the country have failed to encourage local investors in the industry.
According to him, “the federal government is making mockery of the whole idea of Nigerian content. Why are they always in a hurry to set targets they know are not feasible? For the policy to achieve its goals, the government has to create the enabling environment for local industries to thrive. Until they muster the political will to take actions in the interest of the ordinary Nigerian, the 70 per cent Nigerian content target will remain a mirage.”
Coker noted that “the overall NCD goal is good and well-intentioned,” but insisted that the conditions on the ground, accentuated by “official corruption and lack of political will”, have made the government’s policy on NCD a mere mockery of Nigerian people’s desires for speedy industrialisation and economic development.
The PET AN boss regretted that most economic policies of the government were articulated and formulated by officials, whose innate interests are to frustrate emerging local entrepreneurs, bolster their political and economic influence, thereby stagnating the growth of majority of indigenous businesses.
He drew attention to the worrisome state of the steel and the wobbling manufacturing sectors, the epileptic power supply situation, which has inflicted huge losses on investors, the comatose and sorry state of infrastructures, particularly roads, and a litany of legislation working against the growth of the economy, as areas the government has failed to address, adding that except all the enabling structures are put in place, sound policy frameworks were bound to fail.
The industrialist, who has huge investments in the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, regretted that “most Nigerian investors in the oil and
FG To Revive 46 Abandoned Housing Projects Across Nig
The Federal Government, through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria(FMBN), has initiated a rehabilitation process to revive about 46 abandoned housing projects nationwide.
The bank said this would be achieved through a partnership with Shelter Afrique Development Bank, a Pan-African finance institution that exclusively supports the development of the housing and real estate sector in Africa.
The FMBN Managing Director, Shehu Usman Osidi, stated this while hosting the management of Shelter Afrique Development Bank recently in Abuja, noting that the bank had made reviving the housing estates a priority.
According to him, the intensified collaboration will help provide construction and mortgage financing to developers in Nigeria.
He said, “Nigeria has over 46 abandoned projects in the 36 states and the FMBN is determined to revive them.
“Our findings show that banks have entered into a housing financing agreement with states where the state governments are expected to provide infrastructure for these estates, but unfortunately many states reneged and the projects were abandoned.
“We have explored the product offerings of Shelter Afrique Development Bank and found out that they offer infrastructure financing, so we want to bring them on board to offer this financing so we can finish up the projects and hand them over to many Nigerians who need shelter.”
Osidi further noted that Nigeria, the second largest shareholder in the bank with about 15 per cent holding, will explore areas of funding to achieve its target of delivering 100,000 housing units to Nigerians this year.
He mentioned that the FMBN is currently reviewing previously abandoned memoranda of understanding that were signed with the organisation. This review is aimed at exploring the benefits that Nigerians could gain from this renewed partnership.
Also speaking, the CEO of Shelter Afrique, Thierno-Habib Hann, said the organisation was in Nigeria to promote its development financing agenda and identify Nigeria as a destination for investments with over $25bn in Diaspora remittances each year.
He said, “We are ready to collaborate with FMBN and other institutions across Nigeria to address the housing gap. The challenges are there and the opportunities are also there. As a development finance institution, we are very well positioned to collaborate with the government of Nigeria and in this trip, we met all the leadership including the vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who is fully committed to driving the growth of the sector and invest more in the sector knowing that housing creates jobs.”
Meanwhile, the bank has said it collected about N100billion in remittances through the National Housing Fund (NHF) in 2023.
The NHF scheme was established by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to facilitate the continuous flow of low-cost funds for long-term investment in housing, through 2.5 per cent monthly deductions from employees earning a basic salary.
Master Bakers Strike; Factional Group Pulls Out
A factional group, the Supreme Bakers and Confectioners Association of Nigeria(SBCAN), has opted out from the announced strike of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCON).
AMBCON had on February 14th announced it’s proposed strike which commenced yesterday February 27th due to Federal Government’s failure to honour agreement reached with the association in 2020.
The association also called for temporary suspension of all forms of taxation on the bakery industry at the Federal, State and Local Government levels.
However, in a statement on Monday, some bakers under the umbrella of Supreme Bakers and Confectioners Association of Nigeria said embarking on strike at a time Nigerians are going through a lot is uncalled for and could exacerbate the situation.
Acting National President of the association, Edmund Egbuji, in a statement on Monday, urged all members of the group not to participate in the strike.
”The Board of Trustee (BOT) chairman and the entire members of the board in conjunction with the national exco of Supreme Bakers and Confectioners Association of Nigeria wish to bring to the notice of the general public that Supreme Bakers Association will not embark on a nationwide withdrawal of services (strike) proposed by some bakers association in the country.
“Supreme bakers deem it as unpatriotic at this time of food insecurity and scarcity in the country. Going on strike will never be an option rather the government through its relevant ministries should call for a roundtable discussion to cushion the effects of food scarcity plight.
“All members of the supreme bakers are hereby directed to go about the business of feeding the nation as any contrary action will add to the pains of the overstretched citizens”, the statement posited.
Price Hike: BCPG Fears Increased Building Collapse
The Building Collapse Prevention Guild(BCPG) has expressed concern that the continuous rise in prices in building materials may lead to an increase in the use of substandard goods, exacerbating building collapse in the country.
National President of BCPG, Sulaiman Yusuf, stated this during the BCPG sensitisation walks, with the theme “Walking towards Zero Building Collapses,” held in Lagos .
He said, “The expected rise in the cost of building materials such as cement, fittings, and even wages for artisans and professionals in the built environment would eventually have a ripple effect that would see a further proliferation of substandard goods as more builders seek to cut cost by all means and an increase in the patronage of quacks and untrained artisans.
“The effects of these emerging menaces may not be felt immediately, but in three to four years, we may begin to see even more building collapses.
“This sensitisation walk is, therefore, an opportunity to bring this emerging challenge to our attention and is also a call to action.
“The Ministry of Physical Planning and the Office of Urban Development have strong roles to play. They must double their efforts in ensuring that building standards are kept by all builders and must begin to fund research or operationalise the results of previous research on local building materials.”
According to Yusuf, it has become necessary to look inward to reduce the effects of a depreciating naira.
“The Standard Organisation of Nigeria also must take extra care in ensuring that only quality building materials are in the market. We must have a hard line on this,” he advised.
Yusuf emphasised that the plummeting value of the naira, reaching nearly N1,500 against the dollar within six-month would result in a continuous escalation of building material prices.
He stated, “The government must train even more artisans and professionals in the built environment. It is my strong opinion that each local government area must have at least one training school where youths can get trained and become skilled in different areas of the built industry.
“Also, special scholarships should be provided for students offering courses in the built environment to encourage more of them to participate effectively. The youth must be encouraged to know that they do not need to ‘japa’ or turn to a life of crime to become successful in life.
“Regulatory fees should also be reviewed, as the government is advised to see the Ministry of Physical Planning and the Office of Urban Development as agencies for regulation and not revenue generation.”
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