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National Assembly working to give NCDMB more powers

The National Assembly is working on expanding the powers of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), it was learnt.

The Chairman, House Committee on Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring and the representative of Bekwara/Obudu/Obanliku Federal Constituency of Cross River State, Hon. Legor Idabgo, made this known to our reporter on the sidelines of the just-concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) in Abuja.

Idabgo said the National Assembly was expanding the scope and powers of NCDMB to cover midstream and downstream arms of the petroleum industry and besides, the new legislation would give the Board the power not just to develop and monitor, but also to enforce to enable Nigerians get full value from their resources.

The lawmaker also stated that the Federal Government spends N30 to subsidise a litre of imported premium motor spirit (PMS) hence he is gladdened by the construction of the Dangote Refinery, adding that the refinery will bring a lot of value to the economy when it comes on stream.

Idagbo said: “Nigeria’s downstream arm of the petroleum industry is driven by importation. Our PMS or petrol and diesel, among others, are imported. We don’t have the capacity to refine crude oil; that is the reason I commend the Dangote Refinery project because it will save Nigerians a lot in terms of value retention and employment. It has the capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude per day. The project is a huge initiative for local content because it will create jobs, capacity, transfer technology and it will go a long way to retaining the complete value chain of the petroleum industry.

“What obtains is that we produce crude, export it and import refined products. We want to see how we can cut that, and that is why we are amending our law not only to address that but expand the scope of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to cover not just the upstream but also the midstream and downstream arms of the petroleum industry. Again, in the amendment we are also expanding the scope of local content to cover other sectors of the economy. It is when these sectors are working together to ensure complete retained value for Nigerians so that we can create jobs, build capacity, get transfer of technology and build Nigerian companies to be competitive not only in Nigeria but outside the shores of Nigeria. Other countries have achieved that and this is the time for Nigeria to achieve that.

“I commend the NCDMB for what it has done trying to get Azikel Refinery on stream. They spent close to $20 million on the refinery as counterpart funding. I advise people that have licences to set up refineries to strive and meet the conditions needed for the Board to partner with them. Today, we have a refinery in Bayelsa State that is 90 per cent complete and in the next couple of months, it may commence operation. We, in the National Assembly, will continuously, through legislation and oversight, get the best value in-country for Nigerians.

“The National Assembly is amending the sections of the laws, which gave NCDMB powers only to develop and monitor to include sections that give them power to enforce. Initially, it was only when they take matters to the courts of law that the courts go through the case, prosecute and find the person guilty or not. But we now add some administrative procedures that can make the Board impose sanctions on their own. That is why the National Assembly is there to assist the Board impose these sanctions without recourse to courts of law.”

On the subsidy issue, he said: “There is nothing we can do because if you take out subsidy, the fuel price will go up to about N180 or N190 per litre and Nigerians will protest, the labour unions will protest and there will be chaos in the country. We don’t want to go that road. By the time Dangote Refinery starts producing, it will be producing 50 million litres of petrol daily and by the time Azikel comes on stream, it will be producing between 10 and 12 million litres of PMS per day. When you add these and others, it will surpass our national consumption put at 65 million litres daily. This is what I mean when I said: ‘Think outside the box’.

‘’You can’t be talking about local content development without practical value creation and retention in-country and job creation.”

Source: The Nation