By Udeme Akpan
Community contractors in the oil and gas industry will only pay five percent interest when they access the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCIFund), the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote has said.
He stated this at the interactive session the Board organised recently in Abuja for civil societies organisations (CSOs), adding that such contractors execute small scale projects and would not pay the same interest rate like conventional oil and gas service companies.
According to him, the concession for community contractors is in line with the Board’s Community Content Guideline and provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act.
He said the gesture aims at promoting the participation of genuine community contractors in oil and gas projects and integration of communities in the industry value chain as part of the strategy to grow the local economy and promote peace and tranquility in the communities.
The Executive Secretary also promised that disbursement of the Content Fund to oil and gas companies will start this year.
He stated that the loan would be disbursed directly to qualifying companies by the Bank of Industry (BOI) and repaid within five years at eight percent interest rate.
The NCI Fund, he explained, will cater for manufacturing, project financing and equipment purchase.
On the Board’s plan to establish a Nigerian Content Bank, Wabote said the financial institution will ultimately manage the utilisation of the Fund.
“Within the next four years, we will have established the Bank and established a good governance process. We will have key stakeholders, including the civil society, as part of the Advisory Board to guard against misapplication,” he stated.
Acknowledging the positive roles played by civil society organisations in the society, the Executive Secretary said the Board will work with Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to develop a sustainable model that will guide the participation of CSOs in Nigerian Content implementation.
In his goodwill message, the Director of Communications at NEITI, Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji, described the Board’s engagement with civil society organisations as confirmation of its disposition to openness, integrity and good corporate governance.
He noted that CSOs could assist the Board to push the boundaries of implementation and carry out advocacy campaigns.
Orji described the Board’s plan to establish Nigerian Content Bank as a novel idea that should be realized.
He further advised the Board to educate Nigerians sufficiently on the operations of the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF), sanction companies that fail to remit one percent value of their contracts to the NCDF and give incentives to those that comply.
Several civil society groups like Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Democratic Action Group, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Centre for Policy, among others, participated in the event.