The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB has said that it is high time Nigerians, especially northerners woke up from their slumber and explore opportunities that abound in the oil and gas sector.
The Executive-Secretary of the board, Engr. Simbi Kesey-Wabote, stated this during a one-day capacity building workshop for media stakeholders which held on Tuesday in Kano State.
Mr Kesey-Wabote, represented by the General Manager Research, Statistics and Development of the board, Abdulmalik Halilu, said the call became necessary, especially as the agency was doing everything possible to encourage the establishment of more modular refineries.
According to the executive-secretary, doing so will reduce the importation of refined petroleum products into the country.
Mr Kesey-Wabote said: “The idea behind the establishment of the board was strategically aimed at eliminating foreign participation and domination in the oil and gas industry to pave way for indigenous stakeholders to come forward and benefit from the natural deposits endowed in their fatherland in order to ensure self-reliance.
“If you import either goods or services from abroad, you are directly or indirectly creating job opportunities for that particular country you are doing business with and that is why the idea of doing things differently for the benefit of our local people crop up this time around,” he added.
The executive-secretary argued that “instead of Nigeria to keep relying on foreign engineers, contractors or technicians to develop its oil and gas industry, while it has abundant experts on the ground who can do the job even better locally, we at NCDMB decided that such opportunities must be given to deserving Nigerians.”
He, therefore, disclosed that NCDMB was implementing several initiatives for the development of oil-producing communities and improves their economies, adding that the board had so far established community contractors fund under the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund.
He further disclosed that the fund would allow the communities to access up to N20 million for contract execution in the oil and gas industry at a 5 percent interest rate.
Mr Kesey-Wabote stated that the NCDMB was also developing the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme, NOGAPS, in four strategic locations in the oil-producing states for manufacturing equipment, components and chemicals as well as training the young ones to acquire skills to improve productivity.
Another resource person who spoke during the workshop was a senior lecturer with the Department of Mass Communication, Kaduna State University, Prof. Ayodele Joseph.
In his presentation, Mr Joseph described media stakeholders as an indispensable catalyst for content development in the country, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Speaking on the role of the media in public policy framing, a case study of Nigerian content, Mr Joseph said the business of policy formulation by those in the corridors of power could only be attested if the media practitioners are maintaining ethical standards in their dealings.
He said the media practitioners have to be in the full picture of policymaking and implementation, adding that the public needed to be in the know of what the government is doing for the benefit of the populace.
According to him, as professionals in the field of Information dissemination, media practitioners are fully guided by ethics which were being anchored on the premise of ensuring probity, accountability and service delivery.