Funding key to achieving local content — FirstBank

Bashirat Odunewu, Group Executive, Energy Infrastructure, CBG, First Bank Limited, said funding was key to achieving local content in the country.
Odunewu spoke as one of the panelists at a session at the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit in Abuja on Wednesday.
She said funding projects that had local content remained a big challenge in the industry due to lack of return on investment.
She said: “Funding is the heartbeat of local content, but what we have observed is that people don’t think of funding before signing a contract.
“It is very important to know that once you are pursuing a contract, you should be able to articulate how it will be funded.”
Odunewu noted that most local contractors did not make use of professionals to manage finances, hence monitoring cash inflow remained a big challenge.
She said: “I will like to advicxe contractors that to achieve local content, we must take funding as key.
“Most projects that could drive local content could take between $500,000 and $500 million; it is imperative that they articulate the funding process well to enable the project not to fail.
“Part of why many contracts fail is that when they start and they don’t articulate the funding and management, they begin to owe small contractors and eventually the contract will not deliver.
“We must take funding seriously if we want to achieve local content for economic growth and development.”
Also, speaking Bank Anothny Okoroafor, President Petroleum Technologist Association of Nigeria, said the establishment of the Local Content Act was the best thing that had happened to Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
Okoroafor said the Act had brought several changes and development in the oil and gas sector, adding that it had helped in job creation.
He said: “Many Nigerians now own oil rigs, about three million jobs have been created and capacity built due to the Act.
“The Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board should have national award for what it has contributed to the sector.”
Also, Prof. Wunmi Iledare, former President, Nigeria Association of Energy Economies, said local content was about values.
Iledare said all over the world, Nigeria Local Content Act had been the banner for its contribution to the sector.
He said the country had been able to improve the local capacity participation in the industry.
“What we need to do now is to do continuous evaluation of curriculum to enable the industry and the academic to embrace to move the industry,” he added.
He called for more incentives to help motivate more people to study some courses to sustain some areas of study in the industry.