Local Content: Don’t scare investors, Ajumogobia tells NASS

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By Naomi Sharang
Abuja, Sept. 17, 2020 Mr Odein Ajumogobia, former Minister of State for Petroleum, has urged members of the National Assembly not to scare investors from Nigeria with stringent provisions in the planned legislations on local content.

Ajumogobia gave the advice on Thursday in Abuja during a presentation at the virtual summit organised by the National Assembly joint Committee on Local Content.

He said that legislation for effective implementation of local content policy in Nigeria was very important but stringent provisions or conditions should be avoided so as not to scare away investors.

According to him, “Local content provisions in these bills specifically require investors to meet certain targets, restrict them from certain areas of activities, issues of the type of investments they can make, partnership with local partners and so on, ownership of joint ventures, equipment they can and cannot supply and jobs created.

“Now if the targets in the law are too high then they may scare away investments or investors.”

He, however, added that the laws should not be too weak either so as not to prevent the country from maximising its potential.

“I am saying this to highlight the importance of framing the local content provisions in our laws.

“Targets and other local content objectives must be carefully quantified and adapted to local context and collaborative because local content is context specific.

“For example there is a provision that says a stipulated benchmark of 40 per cent for sub-contractors which must be reviewed in terms of capacity,” he said

The summit coordinated by Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content, Sen. Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo), is preparatory to a public hearing that would later be organised on the bills.

The Bills according to Folarin are: the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB.417); Nigerian Local Content Enforcement Bill, 2020 (SB. 419); and the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act, 2020 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2020 (SB. 420).

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