Henceforth, one per cent of every contract awarded in the Nigerian oil and gas industry is to be paid into the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) in accordance with the Nigerian Content Act.
Mr Ernest Nwapa, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Monitoring Board (NCMB), made the disclosure in Onne, near Port Harcourt, on Thursday, after inspecting the pipe threading yard of a private firm.
The Tide’s source reports that NCMB is an off-shoot of the Nigerian Content Bill recently assented into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The NNPC quoted Nwapa in a statement in Abuja on Friday as explaining that the NCDF would be deployed specifically for developing the capacity of Nigerian service providers in the oil and gas sector.
He said the fund would be managed by the board of NCMB and was different from the $350 million Local Content Fund which was put together by NNPC in 2007 to serve as a working capital for Nigerian companies that got service contracts in the industry.
Nwapa said: “In this case, you need to demonstrate the bankability of an investment and the board will begin to talk to you”.
“You are going to show a business plan and prove that the investment will be able to repay the loan”.
“The fund will not be managed by engineers or officials of the board. It will be managed by a proper fund manager with international best practices”.
“So, there is no question of utilising the fund for what it is not meant for.”
Nwapa said the vision of the NCMB was to grow the funds and use it to attract other financial players who would leverage on it such that Nigerian service providers would do business knowing that the fund was available for them to use.
He said the Nigerian Content Act was very robust as it was put together by legislators who understand the oil sector with inputs from members of the industry.
The chief executive called on Nigerian investors to take advantage of the immense opportunities which the Nigerian Content Act had created for them.
”Even if you create these opportunities and Nigerians do not take them, the board would not become manufacturers”.
“The board would only protect the rights of manufacturers, so Nigerians should take advantage of the law,” Nwapa said.
He also commended the management of Botro Marine & Oil Services, who he said took a risk to invest in the pipe threading yard in Onne in 2007 because of their confidence in the Nigerian Content Policy.
”This is the model we want to see because from cutting these threads, it is no longer in his hands.
“The next step would be how to think of manufacturing the pipes themselves because the time has come for us to do anything that can be done in Nigeria.
”Those machines are not made in Nigeria. The law allows you to bring machines from anywhere to work here and retain capacity in the country.
“It is important to our government and our people that we create opportunities for Nigerians to work here,” Nwapa said.
He said about 100 companies were operatiing at the Onne Free Trade Zone a few years ago, but the number had swelled to 150.
Nwapa said the government had the challenge to ensure that service providers at the Onne zone got jobs.
He said that with the Nigeria Content Act now operational, it was no longer at the discretion of officials to decide whether to give jobs to one or two companies.
”It is now law and they have a right to challenge anybody who does not give them jobs and rather takes it elsewhere outside Nigeria.
“President Goodluck Jonathan is bent on ensuring the successful implementation of the Nigerian Content Act.
“He did not keep that bill for more than two weeks before signing it into law and set up this board immediately.
“And, he has given us marching orders and already we have hit the ground running,” Nwapa said.
The source also reports that Nwapa, until this recent appointment, was the Group General Manager, Nigerian Content Division in NNPC.
Foundation Wants Intensified Fight Against HIV Infections
A Non-Governmental Oroganization (NGO), AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), has called on world leaders and stakeholders to redouble efforts towards HIV prevention, testing, and treatment to slow the rising new infection rates.
This is contained in a statement signed in Abuja by the Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF, Nigeria, Mr Steve Aborisade, ahead of the World AIDS Day (WAD) yesterday.
The WAD, which has its theme as “It’s Not Over”, seeks to remind world leaders, global public health institutions and civil society that much work needs to be done to end the AIDS epidemic.
Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy AHF, Terri Ford, said the world has come too far in the fight against HIV and AIDS to let the decades of progress slip away.
He, however, urged the world leaders to relight the fire in the HIV and AIDS fight by putting an increased focus on test and treat, as well as also addressing late HIV presentation.
Ford said; ‘We were glad to see the resilience of HIV programmmes worldwide during and after the pandemic.
“However, the latest UNAIDS data shows that the global HIV/AIDS response needs reinvigorating, making the theme even more relevant for this year’s World AIDS Day.
“UNAIDS reported 1.5 million new HIV infections in 2021, which were 1 million more than the global target of 500,000 and an estimated 650,000 deaths from AIDS-related illnesses.
AHF Africa Bureau Chief, Dr Penninah Lutung, said the most recent UNAIDS statistics shows that more than 38 million people were living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.
He added that more than 40 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the HIV epidemic.
He also said millions of people were accessing lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, while more still desperately needed it.
“HIV response in parts of Africa has held strong through the adversity brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘`Also new HIV infections are rising in others, and young women and girls remain disproportionately affected, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa”, Lutung said.
Young Women Need Information, Knowledge On Menstruation -MWAN
The Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Oyo State, says young females need valid information and right knowledge to understand the concept of menstruation.
President of MWAN, Dr Oyindamola Adeyemi, made the assertions in Ibadan, while distributing a book entitled: “What Our Adolescents Are Asking About Menstruation ?” to selected public schools.
The Tide’s source reports that the Association donated the book to four public schools in Bashorun area of Ibadan at an event held at Oba Akinleye Memorial High School, Ibadan.
Adeyemi said the book would empower young girls, parents and teachers with valid information about menstruation, sexual and reproductive health, which she said, had been well researched by a team of experts.
She said that culturally, limited discussions on menstrual and sexual-related matters encourages widespread dissemination of false information.
According to her, this is worsened by our girls seeking answers to their concerns from their peers and social media where they also encounter false information.
Adeyemi said the wrong information, therefore, made them vulnerable for unscrupulous elements in the society to prey on their innocence.
“Therefore, it is important that our young girls have access to valid information, which addresses their concerns and ensures that they are well equipped with the right knowledge they need to understand the concept of menstruation, feel comfortable with it, make the right decisions and ultimately safeguard their reproductive health,” she said.
Also, the State Commissioner for Education, Mr Rahman Abduraheem, represented by Deputy Director Schools in the ministry,Mrs Felicia Oyerinde, charged the girls on some valuable tips to maintaining hygiene.
“Changing your pad every four hours, cleaning your reusable pads properly, keeping your Vaginal area clean and wearing comfortable clean underwear, among many more hygienic ways, which can be cultivated by you all to ensure your wellbeing,” he said.
Safe Transport, Security, Key To Nation’s Growth, Development – Stakeholders
The Nigerian Army, alongside other stakeholders have reiterated the importance of safety and security in developing the transportation sector and engendering growth of the nation.
They spoke at the 4th National Transportation Summit of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIOTA) in Abuja with the theme “Transport Safety and Security Administration in Nigeria”.
According to the CIOTA President, Dr Bashir Jamoh, the theme is carefully chosen to proffer solution to the challenge of insecurity affecting the various modes of transportation in the country.
Jamoh, who was represented by Prof. Samuel Odewumi of Lagos State University (LASU), said, “this particular summit was on safety and that is the big elephant in the room. All the modes are under threats.
“The air, though regulated by the international agency, has safety as always their first line of consideration in everything.
“The railway that we thought is the safest and easiest, has come under threat and we don’t need to remind ourselves what the situations are now with the rail.
“Water transport is the same thing. The road is not in any way better. It carries about 90 per cent of our mobility but it is heavily challenged.
“So, CIOTA feels safety should be the focus. Transport is at the neck of mobility and economy. So, we must do all we can to secure it.”
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, represented by Mr Cajetan Agu, NSC’s Director of Consumer Affairs, said without security and safety, transport could not develop.
“And transport itself happens to be the catalyst for the development of the economy.
“When you look at the transportation system generally, you will discover that what we have as a system needs a surgical review.
“You can see the sanity on the road when you travel outside Nigeria; so in our capacity as the port economic regulator, what we are charging this summit is to ensure they assist in coming up with standard.
“There must be standard for road, rail, maritime; it is only when we have standard that even the issue of safety and security comes in.
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