Nigeria Content Board soon to unveil 17-storey tower in Bayelsa

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The Senate Committee on Local Content as part of its oversight to ensure promotion of local capacity, has inspected a 17- storey Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Headquarters in Bayelsa.

The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Adeola Solomon, while on inspection tour of the building during the committee’s two-day oversight visit to Bayelsa and Rivers, lauded the work done, so far.

According to Solomon, the building, which has a multilevel park and conference hall capacity of 1000, is a landmark project.

“The most interesting part of this project is that it is local content driven.

“The contractors and consultants that are executing this project are purely Nigerians and this I see as the right step in the right direction.

“We are impressed with the level of job done as far as this project is concerned, though a lot of work still needs to be done ,” he said.

He urged all stakeholders in the project to put in their best for a befitting finishing that the country would be proud of.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, said the board was determined to complete the building and put it to use in few months time.

“We have practically finished everything associated with concrete works and now we are working inside the building installing ceiling, air conditioning, cabling, fire systems, the lift, escalator and others.

“It is a four-level storey car park and a 100,000 seated auditorium. One of the biggest problem in Nigeria is the ability to sustain power supply. So, the strategy we have adopted is to power the building with a gas fired 24/7 electricity which will give a lot of companies attraction to want to take a space. It will be an epicentre of activities,” Wabote said.

He, however, regretted that the project had some fluctuations due to unstable exchange rate.

He said when he assumed office, the contractor handling the project suffered variation as a result of fluctuation in the exchange rate.

“Technically it is not variation but fluctuation. Fluctuation is when prices are affected but variation is when one requests for what is not part of an original contract.

“There was variation to price of PMS or diesel and it had its own knock-on effect on even local materials such as sand , granite or steel as the case may be.

He, however, expressed optimism that the building would be completed and put to use in a short while.

On other activities of the board, the executive secretary said the board had been able to domicile and train Nigerians up to 600 million man hour.

He added that the board’s strategic objective was to achieve 70 per cent in terms of local content that would create about 300,000 job opportunities for Nigerians.

He said the strategy was being deployed among other things to attain 70 per cent in the next 10 years.

On 2018 budget of the board, Wabote said, “we have an approved budget of N49.4 billion approved in July for the board.

“Budget performance as at end of September is N8.9 billion. Performance level between July and September is 18 per cent. So, we have not gone half year since the budget approval by the end of July. We are optimistic that within six to eight months, we will be at about 70 to 80 per cent budget performance.

The executive secretary assured that the board would not rest on its oars in promoting local content development.(NAN)

ADD:

— Senate to probe 100% foreign ownership of some multinational companies

The Committee on Local Content has concluded plans to investigate 100 per cent foreign ownership of some multinational companies registered in Nigeria.

The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Solomon Adeola, made this known in Port Harcourt, while briefing newsmen at the end of a two day oversight visit to Rivers and Bayelsa states.

He said it was worrisome for some multinational companies registered in Nigeria to have 100 per cent foreign ownership.

“I was astonished to find out that many of these companies have been in Nigeria for upward of 50 years and have been doing business without getting Nigerians involved.

“We find it disturbing that a company will be in Nigeria for so many years without consideration to their shareholding structure.

“We put the blame on those who were meant to implement or monitor these companies except if there is legislation that allows that, that we do not know about.

“Some of these companies bear ‘Nigeria Limited’ but they are 100 per cent owned by their parent bodies abroad.

“I wonder how they scaled through the Corporate Affairs Commission’s scrutiny to the extent that they are unnoticed and they have been submitting returns to the commission over these years.

“I would not know if there is any law that gives them that opportunity or is it that some people are conniving with them to defraud Nigeria in this regard.

“All these are what we will unearth by the time the committee is putting together its report, ” he said.

Adeola (APC-Lagos) said the committee would find out if there is legislation that permitted such, then come out with a firm position on matter.

On non-listing of some of the companies on Nigeria’s stock exchange, the lawmaker said it was worrisome.

According to him, the committee found out that companies like Halliburton, TechnipFMC, Saipem and a host of others have not been listed on the stock exchange.

He said, “it baffles me what gave them the impetus to remain a fully foreign owned company in Nigeria and some have operated for well over 50 years.

“We will come out to the public with our findings. If we found out that the gap is in our legislation we will know what to do and if they are merely taking advantage of Nigeria we will also know what to do.”

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