When the office of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, is commissioned about the first quarter of 2019, a lot of firsts would have been recorded in the local content drive of the Federal Government.
The 17-storey edifice located at Oxbow Lake Road, Swali, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, will no doubt be the tallest building in the whole of the South-South region. NCDMB achieved 100 percent local content in the overall services. These include; main contractor, architecture, civil/structural engineering, quantity surveying, and mechanical engineering. Others include; electrical engineering, geotechnical, project management and sub-contractors. It, however, achieved 70 percent local content in overall materials used in the project. Specifically, it achieved 100 percent in concrete works, block works, and structural steel works, while it achieved 65 percent, 68 percent and 70 percent in MEP works, finished works and fixtures and furniture respectively. As regards overall labour, 90 percent local content was achieved as follows; high level technology, 75 percent, medium level technology, 83 percent and low-level technology, 100 percent.
NCDMB encouraged high level local capacity building as all site management positions occupied by expatriates have Nigerians as understudies for capacity development and knowledge transfer. Example of such positions include the Project Manager and Deputy Project Manager among other positions. As regards low level local capacity building, newly imported technologies used on the project are taught to the local artisans to increase capacity and capability, especially in the areas of formwork climbing system, post-tension system, etc. It is worthy of mention that the project host community, Swali town, was given special consideration during employment to boost local economy, which is not less than 45 percent of the low-level workforce, while indigenes of Bayelsa State constitute 60 percent of the workforce. In furtherance of its corporate social responsibility to the host community.
As Corporate Social Responsibility, Megastar, the indigenous contractor built and delivered an ultra-modern health facility to the host community. Megastar also made extensive use of local inputs of the indigenes, as it trained most of the local youths on construction skills that were used in the construction of the headquarter complex. Speaking at the event, Engr. Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary commended Megastar for its commitment to the Swali community since it started the building project. He said that the company had been “training community youths in various skill sets, employing Swali community indigenes and engaging the services of community contractors.” He also applauded the elders, youths and residents of the community for their peaceful disposition to the headquarters building project and the support they give to Megastar. He assured that more and bigger projects would come if the residents continue to provide a peaceful atmosphere even after the headquarters building is completed and put into use. Wabote advised the community to put the town hall into sustainable use and find ways to make it generate revenues that would be used for its regular maintenance.
Also speaking, the Managing Director, Megastar Technical and Construction Company Limited, Mr. Harcourt Adukeh, stated that the company engaged community contractors in the procurement activities for the construction of the head office building. He added that the company also partnered with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to train 75 youths from the community in various building construction trades and the best among them were employed to work on the project. According to him the company also exceeded the stipulation in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the community for 25 percent of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workforce. “We have achieved 97 percent Nigerians, 60 percent Bayelsans and 43 percent persons from Swali town, he said.” The Commissioner, Information and Orientation, Bayelsa State, Mr. Iworiso Markson described Swali youths as “Representatives of young persons we want to see in our state. We are happy they are part of the project and have never been disruptive. The trainings and skills they have acquired will stay with them for their lifetime.”
However, speaking on the NCDMB head office project, during its oversight visit, Members of the Senate Committee on Local Content commended NCDMB for conceiving and developing its 17-storey headquarters building in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, using the services of a local contractor. The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adeola Solomon, who spoke after the group undertook a tour of the building site, applauded the overall quality of execution. He stated that when completed the building would meet the present and future needs of the NCDMB. “The project will also meet the expectations of all Nigerians, especially those in the oil and gas industry.” He also commended the main contractor, Megastar Technical and Construction Company Limited for the speedy and professional development of the project. “I am happy that we have a project of this magnitude being executed by a Nigerian company. The most interesting part of this project is that it is local content driven.” The Chairman of the Senate Committee, Upstream Petroleum Resources and member of the Local Content Committee, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, also described the new building as a wonderful initiative, which would contribute to the development of Bayelsa State and the entire oil and gas industry. Also speaking, Senator Dino Melaye noted that the project would save the economy huge costs in the future. “I commend NCDMB for projecting into the future. Eventually, the building might even meet most needs of the Board and the oil and gas industry. We need to develop similar projects in many other sectors and locations.
As regards the implementation of the Nigerian Content, Senator Adeola said the Board’s efforts have helped to attract investments into the economy, develop human capacities and technology in the oil and gas sector. He stated further that the Nigerian Content aims to promote empowerment and employment of indigenes and facilitate technology transfer in order to expand the local economy. He assured that the committee would continue to add value to the Local Content initiative, increase the impact and enforcement of the NOGICD ACT and work with the NCDMB for a greater fulfillment of its mandate in the overall interest of all Nigerians. He added that “the committee has commenced the review of the NOGICD ACT 2010 to increase its relevance to the current industry realities and more importantly to expand its scope to cover other industry such as ICT, telecom, manufacturing, extractive industry among others.” In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote stated that the Board’s 17-storey headquarters building would be a source of pride to indigenes and residents of the Niger Delta region. He confirmed that only eight floors would be used for office space, while one floor would host an oil and gas training centre of excellence. According to Wabote, some operating and service companies have already indicated their interest to rent some of the floors and proceeds from such lease would be used to maintain the building. He also said that the structure would utilize electricity generated from an independent power plant being developed by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in Bayelsa State. Responding to questions by the lawmakers, the Executive Secretary clarified that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved an increase in the project’s budget, because of the huge fluctuations in the foreign exchange rates, which greatly affected the costs of inputs.