Funding key to achieving local content, says FirstBank

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Ms Bashirat Odunewu, Group Executive, Energy Infrastructure, CBG, First Bank Ltd., said that funding was key to achieving local content in the county.
Odunewu spoke as one of the panelists at a session at the ongoing Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), in Abuja, on Wednesday.
She said that funding projects that had local content remained a big challenge in the industry due to lack of return on investment.
“Funding is the heartbeat of local content but what we have observed is that people don’t think of funding before signing a contract.
“It is very important to know that once you are pursuing a contract, you should be able to articulate how it will be funded,” she said.
She noted that most local contractors did not make use of professionals to manage finances, hence monitoring cash inflow remained a big challenge.
“I will like to advise contractors that to achieve local content, we must take funding as key.
“Most projects that could drive local content could take between $500,000 and $500 million; it is imperative that they articulate the funding process well to enable the project not to fail.
“Part of why many contracts fail is that when they start and they don’t articulate the funding and management, they begin to owe small contractors and eventually the contract will not deliver.
“We must take funding seriously if we want to achieve local content for economic growth and development,” she added.
Also, speaking Mr Bank Anthony Okoroafor, President Petroleum Technologist Association of Nigeria (PETAN), said that establishment of the local content Act was the best thing that had happened to Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
He said that the  Act had brought several changes and development in the oil and gas sector adding that it had helped in job creation.
“Many Nigerians now own oil rigs, about three million jobs have been created and capacity built due to the Act.
“The Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), should have national award for what it has contributed to the sector,” he added.
Also, Prof. Wunmi Iledare, former President Nigeria Association of Energy Economies (NAEE), said that local content was about values.
He said that all over the world, Nigeria local content Act had been the banner for its contribution to the sector.
He said that the country had been able to improve the local capacity participation in the industry.
“What we need to do now is to do continuous evaluation of curriculum to enable the industry and the academic to embrace to move the industry,” he added.
He called for more incentives to help motivate more people to study some courses to sustain some areas of study in the industry.

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