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The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has commenced the disbursement of its $200 million Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCIF) at eight per cent interest rate to local oil and gas firms.

Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote disclosed this during a capacity building workshop for Energy and Business Correspondents, entitled, ‘NCDMB and the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund’.

Wabote, who was represented at the event by the Director, Finance and Personnel Management, Mr. Isaac Iyalah, said that already, 45 firms had applied to access the fund.

The statutory mandates of the Board include to foster institutional collaboration, maximise participation of Nigerians in oil and gas activities, link the oil and gas sector to other sectors of the economy as well as attract investments to the Nigeria oil and gas sector.

Wabote explained that the about N72 billion intervention fund was to support the growth and development of the local companies in the oil and gas sector, noting that repayment would span five years.

According to him, 11 applications had been approved, while $11 million has been released for the qualified beneficiaries. He warned the beneficiaries not to treat the loans as their share of the national cake.

The fund, he further stated, would empower the community contractors, who hitherto, were constrained by staggering amounts required to compete favourably, win and execute profitable contracts on offer by different oil companies as they will now become agents of wealth creation.

He added: “One per cent of all contacts awarded in oil and gas sector is deducted by NCIF which is being managed by the board to see how the intervention fund can be used to support local companies to enhance their growth and development.

“The $200 million NCIF is a pivotal plank of NCDMB that is set up with the responsibility to implement and enforce the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010.

“It is the practical expression of NCDMB’s efforts to institutionalise financial support for indigenous services companies operating in the oil and gas industry.”

The Executive Secretary noted that proper operations and utilisation of the fund would help to reverse the unhealthy foreign dominance in the sector by empowering local businesses to thrive.

Other objectives of the fund, according to him, would be to deal with contract financing for Nigerian oil services providers, contract financing for oil and gas community contractors and contract and loan refinancing for services companies that already have facilities with Nigerian banks.

While calling on Nigerians to take advantage of the fund, Wabote said that “it would boost local manufacturing, create jobs to enhance local technical capacity, as well as ignite economic growth in the local communities.”

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