At the Practical Nigerian Content that was held recently in Bayelsa State, the Executive Secretary (ES) of the Nigerian Content, Development, and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote clarified issues on the Dangote Refinery to journalists.
He said the Free Trade Zone has its own advantages, enshrined in the law, adding that the technicality in building a refinery project is not what should be undermined.
The NCDMB ES, stated that implementing Local Content is about pragmatism. On whether the Dangote Refinery will be a victim of sabotage, or fall same fate with NNPC’s four refineries, the ES was of the view that since, it is a purely private sector initiative, it will be well monitored and managed.
Has Dangote Refinery implemented Local Content with free zone agreement?
The Free Trade Zone equally has its own advantages, and it is entitled to enjoy those advantages which have been enshrined in the law. In terms of Local Content, Dangote is a typical example of somebody who believes in the country, and he is patriotic to establish such a monumental project in the shores of our land.
Looking at what the immediate past minister of state for petroleum resources said about the deal after building refinery that it will be handed over to up coming youths. Do you think this will be achievable?
I don’t think the minister said that, he didn’t say anything about Dangote refinery at all, I can’t remember that.
Do you think that the Nigerian young workforce that have been trained can handle the refinery?
The workforce is in various strata, and eventually we will all retire, and young people will take over from us. Those of us that are in the industry now, by the time we clock 60 years we will retire and young people will take over from us. It is a figure of speech it is not saying that youth will take over, that is not the way it works. I think there is a misunderstanding.
In the Egina FPSO, many fabrications were done in-country. Why is the Dangote refinery different in terms of in-country participation as most of the equipment are brought into Nigeria?
No doubt refinery is not what we build every day. I don’t think some of us were born when the last refinery was built in Nigeria. It is a different kind of project where you have to develop the desired capacity, to be able to get involved in such refinery project.
In the oil and gas sector, because there are projects done continuously, be it managing flow stations, and platforms, it is something that is done quite often. We have been able to build local capacity to do those things. If there are new areas that we are not used to, of course no man is an island, and we are open to those technologies coming for us to adopt. Am sure if the next refinery is going to be built of that magnitude, the participation of Nigerians will be a lot more than what we have today. So, you don’t bring new technologies, and start to work on them. Implementing Local Content is about pragmatism, it is not about Nigerianisation or forcing things that are not possible because you need to weigh the balance, between the economics, and viability of the projects including drive for local content.
So, we try to delicately have that balance in order to progress as a country.
It is believed that part of what collapsed the four Nigerian refineries is internal sabotage. As the NCDMB Executive Secretary, what is your advice on Dangote refinery?
It will be avoided because it is a private investment. The other refineries are run by the Government, and Government is not in the position to run businesses effectively, due to many factors. A private investor will do a lot better than when you have project being run by Government. That is why there is a push for privatization. For instance, the Hilton Hotel in Abuja, that has been privatized, the profitability is enormous since it is being managed by the private sector. Dangote refinery is purely private initiative and he will put everything in place to make sure that it runs reliably well, and efficiently.