NCDMB cuts down foreign workforce, increases indigenous participation

Engr. Wabote ncdmb

Solomon Ezeme

The Nigerian Content Management Board (NCDMB) has disclosed that the level of involvement of Nigerians in the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas’s (NLNG’s) workforce, over the last decade, has grown by nearly 90 %.

The board noted that the oil and gas industry in Nigeria has witnessed great improvements, in terms of local participation, from its status quo in 2010 when indigenous participation was less than 3%, before the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, made the disclosure on Sunday in Yenagoa, while receiving the African Local Content Icon Award from the African Leadership Magazine, based in the United Kingdom.

Wabote said the agency, through its various policies and initiatives, has succeeded in reducing the number of foreign staff at NLNG who are mostly expatriates, paving the way for more inclusion of Nigerians in the workforce of the company, even at top management level.

He refuted the claim that the Nigerian content policy is not cost-effective, stating that such a claim is geared towards discouraging efforts made by the Board to increase local participation, by some foreign interests.

“From 2010 till now, we have come a long way; for instance, NLNG had 90 per cent of the workforce as expatriates, but today, 90 per cent of the workers are Nigerians with some even occupying top positions in foreign oil firms.

“The Nigerian content policy saves costs. From the projects that the NCDMB have supervised, it is clear that it is better for the International Oil Companies in Nigeria, but foreign interests at global levels erroneously say that local content is expensive.

“Before the move to increase the participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas sector, the participation was at about three per cent and previous administrations relied mostly on taxes and revenue and lost sight of the opportunities for Nigerians to get involved in the sector.

“From the oil sector where I am coming from, it is five times more expensive to pay an expatriate than a Nigerian. So, how can they say that local content is more expensive?” He said.

Wabote also disclosed that the Board has helped Nigeria save huge sums that could have been lost to foreign expatriates and firms, by encouraging more participation of indigenous companies to take up contracts for the ongoing Train 7 Projects at the NLNG.

He said: “On the Train 7 project, if you look at the cost provided by foreign companies, you have a wide gap of about $2bn from the quotations of the lowest submitted by foreign firms and the highest from Nigerian companies. So local content is better as we ensured that quality was not compromised.”

After receiving the award from Mr Kingsley Okeke, Managing Editor of the African Leadership Magazine, the NCDMB Boss expressed his gratitude to the Presidency for offering him the opportunity to serve the nation in the capacity of his current office at the Board.

“I am thankful to President Muhamadu Buhari, who gave me the opportunity to practice local content in the public sector, by appointing me in 2016 and reappointing me in 2020,” Wabode remarked.