Senate probes petroleum content development fund

By Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Senate has opened full investigation into the utilisation of the Nigerian petroleum content development fund.

Also being investigated is the level of compliance with the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (NOGIC) by Industry operators.

The probe is the focus of a one day public hearing held in Abuja on Tuesday.

Organised by the Senate joint committee on petroleum upstream and Gas, the public hearing is an opportunity for critical stakeholders to make submissions that will enable the Senate gather adequate information on the state of the Fund under investigation.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Tayo Alasoadura assured participants the probe was not targeted at anyone or company but rather, to protect the country’s business interests.

 “This is why we have gathered here today to give effect to the mandate of the Senate Local Content and indeed its implementation of the NOGIC Act 2010 is a very topical issue in today‘s national economic revamp. And of course local content in the oil and gas sector is an issue that cannot be overemphasised,” Mr Alasoadura stated.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki urged all operators in the petroleum industry to adhere to the provisions of the Nigeria oil and gas industry content development Act established seven years ago.

“For the purpose of clarity, let us be reminded that the whole idea of the Nigeria content in oil and gas industry is not about indigenization, and the intent is not to say that every foreigner should go back to their country and allow Nigerians alone to provide the services themselves,” Dr Saraki emphasised.

The Senate President observed that full implementation of the Act is the most important way to stimulate the economy and reduce the poverty index of Nigeria.

Dr. Bukola Saraki was represented at the event by the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan.

It would be recalled that, at its sitting on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 the Senate debated a motion on ‘the need to ascertain the degree of Local Content in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry,’ and Mandated the Committees on Petroleum Upstream and Gas to conduct a public hearing to investigate the implementation of local content. This is to determine the degree of compliance with the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act  by Industry operators.

Senate resolution also mandated the Committee on Petroleum Upstream and Gas to investigate the utilization of the Nigerian Content Development Fund.

Mercy Chukwwudiebere