Local content: FG urges IOCs to patronise indigenous shipyard

The Federal Government has called the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to patronise indigenous shipyard and marine support base as a way of further promoting its local content policy.

The Chairman, House Committee on Local Content, Honourable Emmanuel Okon, made the call during an inspection of shipyard and marine support base operated by the West African Ventures Ltd recently.

He lamented underutilization of the company’s facilities by IOCs and advocated for patronage so as to encourage sustainable investment needed to build in-country capacity and ability of indigenous companies to compete internationally.

In his expression of satisfaction with the standard of passenger boats, tug boats and investment in dry dock, the Okon said that the House of Representatives will ensure a sustainable patronage of the multi-billion naira yard of West African Ventures and facilities of other indigenous companies in line with the conditions contained in the local content law.

Marine Support Base and shipyard of West African Ventures are located at Warri in Delta State.

This follows discovery of  several new boats recently constructed in-country but yet to purchased by oil and gas operators during the inspection and verification of the company’s local content capacity as part of the committee’s oversight function.

“I am impressed by what I am seeing here and I believe the community is impressed. From the local content perspective, I believe this is all it is about. Even though the facilities are not properly utilized the way it is supposed to, we will try our very best to get people, marketers who can market this company and give them the level of patronage that they deserve,” he said.

Furthermore, Okon assured that the lower chambers will exercise its legislative powers to ensure that the crisis in the oil and gas sector doesn’t weigh down the oil and gas business. He noted that the global crisis was evidently affecting related markets and other local companies at this time.

According to him, “as a responsive legislature, we will make sure that we continue to legislate and come out with laws and legislations that will force other companies and other users of light boat like this to consider getting it from companies like WAV with huge investment  in the country to creat jobs.”

The lawmaker also noted the impact of Local Content Law since its introduction in 2010 has encouraged steady investment in various regions of Nigeria. He disclosed that the law has promoted immeasurable investments and achievements recorded in terms of job creation and skill acquisition in the oil and gas sector. He was convinced that local companies have fared well as a result of the law and more investments are expected when the economy takes a stable position.

The Executive Director, West African Ventures Limited, Alhaji Ibrahim Sambo, admitted there were economic crisis prompting developments such as redundancies for survival in the system. He revealed that they had to embark on three redundancy exercises in the last quarter to manage cost in order to meet up with dwindling revenue.

He was however optimistic about huge patronage from some government parastatals and other organisations in respect of flying boats services, border patrol and the likes, following the legislative backing to assist the company and other local companies in terms of patronage, having realized that facilities available were under-utilised.

“Loss and gains come from almighty God, no regrets whatsoever. In goodness, all you will lose and gain is in the hands of God, which is my own philosophy because if God gives you something, you will not know that you will get it but it is out of dedication and hard work. So now, we are still hoping for a bright future,” he said.

West African Ventures (WAV) is a 100 per cent Nigerian company, a leading indigenous provider of offshore engineering, procurement, fabrication, installation and vessel charter services. With corporate headquarters in Lagos, Marine Support Base and shipyard in Warri, Dry-dock and Fabrication facilities in Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, WAV provides excellent offshore support services to the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector.