In this interview with some journalists at the just concluded 9th Practical Nigerian Content Seminar in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote, spoke on various issues bordering on the growth of local content in Nigeria. Michael Eboh and Prince Okafor were there.
What, in your own perspective is the benefit of NLNG Train 7 to the Nigerian economy
To the Nigerian economy, as you are aware, it would bring more revenue to the country; more taxes would be paid. To the economy, it means a lot.
To Nigerians, it also means a lot. It means creation of jobs. As you have heard, we would have about 10,000 direct jobs that would be created because of the Train 7 project. What that translates to is almost 40,000 indirect induced jobs that would be created. It has been over 10 years since we built the last train, this of course would rejuvenate the economy.
It is not just the NLNG Train itself; it is also the upstream projects that would also come because of the Train 7 project.
We expect a lot more in terms of activities in the economy — employment, revenue generation and to a large extent, quelling the restiveness that we have in the Niger Delta. So, its contribution is quite enormous.
We hear of challenges to the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCIF), in terms of challenges in accessing the fund; have these been brought to your notice
Actually, the only thing that has been brought to my notice about the NCIF is success, success, success. I have not received any complaints. Besides, it is not operators that are applying for the Fund, it is the contractors that provide services.
As at today, Bank of Industry (BOI) is approaching NCDMB, requesting additional funds, because with the approvals that they have, they have already exhausted the funds.
One thing that you need to be wary about is that if you take the statistics of failed loans with commercial banks, it is quite enormous and when people saw t his funds, as usual with Nigerians, they thought it was free money and they wanted to use the same process with which they collected money from the banks which they could not pay, to access this fund; we said no, because this is a revolving loan where others would benefit from. You must go through the stringent requirements in order to access the fund.
People like free money; people like money that they would not repay.
Today, you know about the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and the debt profile that they have been able to accumulate by purchasing failed businesses and failed loans from some of these people that could not pay.
We would not fall into that trap. We would continue to remain stringent.
Those who are not leveraged; those who are not exposed in terms of borrowing, and those who have legitimate businesses, actually benefitted from the Funds and are clamouring for more funds.
We rather deal with those ones than deal with the ones that want free money, and who do not meet the requirements. All we hear is success and not complaints.