The Federal Government says compliance with the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act will form a prime requirement for all operators and service companies interested in the award of operational licenses and permits in the next oil bid round.
Already, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) say they are forging a new partnership that would enable them collaborate to enforce compliance with provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGIC) Act 2010.
The management of the two agencies said at the end of a meeting in Lagos on Thursday that a joint committee has also been constituted to design an interface model that would harmonise their common mandates as they relate to Nigerian content development in the oil and gas industry.
It was gathered that the committee, among other things, would develop the procedure for operationalizing sections 3 and 7 of the NOGIC Act, which provide that compliance with Nigerian Content provisions, promotion of Nigerian Content development and submission of Nigerian Content Plan would constitute key conditions for the award of licenses, permits and any other project in the oil and gas industry.
The DPR has always been responsible for organising oil bid rounds where operational licenses and permits are issued to producing and service companies interested in doing business in the Nigerian upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, is expected to formally endorse the Expatriate Quota Management policy, which is going to be a significant area the two agencies hope to focus their attention on, to ensure industry compliance with section 33 of the NOGIC Act, to minimise incidences of abuse as well as ensure optimal knowledge transfer to Nigerians from enforcement.
The committee is also to address the increasing incidence of staff disengagement by operators by designing a partnership model that would guarantee the sharing of critical information between DPR and NCDMB to facilitate effective industry regulation.
The DPR Director, Osten Olurunsola, who led the meeting, commended the NCDMB for its achievements within the two years of its establishment, adding that Nigerian Content policy has been the shining light in the industry within the period.
“When we are seen working together, people will find it difficult to play one agency against the other, and when we have issues, we will examine them together,” Mr. Olurunsola said.
The NCDMB Executive Secretary, Ernest Nwapa, said the oil and gas industry can only make sustainable progress if all agencies of stakeholders, particularly the sector regulators, have a common understanding and a willingness to work together.
“Once there are conflicting signals from NCDMB, DPR and NAPIMS (National Petroleum Investments Management Services), there will be problems,” Mr Nwapa said. “We want people from our offices to be acting on the basis of a common understanding of the laws and government policies.”
To build a common understanding for its mandate, Mr. Nwapa said the Board has had successful relationships with several ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) connected with the oil and gas industry and the Nigerian Content implementation.
Some of these MDAs, he said, include Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information and Technology, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry (BOI), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC).
He advised agencies of government against the belief that collaboration with each other would lead to encroachment into their mandates, adding that any success recorded through such efforts would bring enduring benefits.