By Musa Baba Adamu
As a way of strengthening the Local Content Acts in Nigeria, the National Assembly Monday, put machinery in motion for enactment of three fresh legislations.
This is as stakeholders in the oil and gas sectors , kicked against usage of expatriates in the oil and gas sectors for more than three years.
In coming up with the legislations, joint committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives on Local Content , organized a two – day public hearing on proposed bills to that effect.
The three Bills, according to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content, Teslim Folarin (APC Oyo Central), are very important and sacrosanct to the development of the country’s oil and gas industry, which is one of the most viable sectors of the economy.
He stated that the legislations which are being processed jointly by the two chambers are the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (58.417); the Nigerian Local Content Enforcement Bill, 2020 (58.419); and the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act, 2010(Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, 2020 (58.420).
Folarin explained that the Bills, among other things, seek to consolidate on the gains of the implementation of local content component in the oil and gas industry, pursuant to the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, 2010.
“One of the Bills also seeks to provide the needed legal framework for the implementation of local content in other key sectors of the economy, including power, ICT, Construction and Transportation.
“The enactment of this Bill, will no doubt, provide the legal basis for the enforcement of the Presidential Executive Order No. 5 of 5th February, 2018, which seeks to improve local content procurement with regards to science, engineering and technology components of the economy”, he said.
He added that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act, 2010 (Repeal and Re-Enactment Bill, 2020 seeks to repeal the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act 2010 and enact the Nigerian Local Content Development and Enforcement Commission to address the local content needs of all the sectors of the nation’s economy.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who declared the public hearing opened commended sponsors and supporters of the Bills for seeking to provide the precise legislative frameworks to tap the country’s many potentials.
He noted that “in adding value to our economy from the Oil and Gas industry, we are responding to the call to expand our gains beyond resource revenue.”
Lawan explained that “the significance of value is far reaching in any system. They deal with substance. They are also of high quality, because it goes beyond a primary benefit, to the documentation of multiple avenues for content development.”
According to Lawan, “Content is value adding, and enriching, aside from its ability to promote originality. Uniqueness further comes from good thinking, purposefulness and consistency in policy outlines, which also depends on good laws.”
Many of the stakeholders who made contributions at the public hearing like Festus Osifo who represented oil and gas workers, vehemently kicked against usage of expatriates in the sectors beyond three years.
He accused most of the oil firms of flouting the local content Act through usage of expatriates in different ways and called for more stringent laws against such acts.