The Federal Government, has acted in line with the proposed Local Content Bill being considered by the Senate. It has been reported to have barred foreign firms from bidding for contracts worth N5 billion. This was in a bid to empower local contractors.
Abubakar Aliyu, Minister of State for Works and Housing, disclosed to the National Assembly Joint Committees on Local Content in Abuja yesterday, that the N5 billion categorisation was part of the measures put in place to strengthen local content laws.
He stated that, contracts not more than N5 billion are to be made available and accessible to indigenous firms to bid for and execute.
However, questions are being raised, as to whether the new policy would affect construction firms like Julius Berger.
In response to that, the Minister clarified that, proper categorisation would be done to determine that.
He said, Julius Berger is more or less an indigenous foreign firm, with a high percentage of Nigerians involved in its operations and management. He noted that this has made its categorisation difficult.
He highlighted that measures like registration of expatriates and proof of valid residence permit, are also part of the recommendations required in the local content development bill.
Senator Teslim Folarin, Chairman of the Committee, earlier said that the three bills being put under consideration, are very important to the development of the oil and gas industry in the country.
He further explained that the bills, among other things, aims to consolidate on the gains of the execution of local content component in the oil and gas industry, pursuant to the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, 2010.
Folarin, the Chairman of the committee in his statement said, ‘One of the bills also seeks to provide the needed legal framework for the implementation of local content in other key sectors of the economy, including power, ICT, Construction and Transportation. The enactment of this Bill, will no doubt, provide the legal basis for the enforcement of the Presidential Evecutive Order No. 5 of February 5, 2018, which seeks to improve local content procurement with regards to science, engineering and technology components of the economy.’