From Uche Usim, Abuja

To curb huge import expenditures, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) is planning to launch a $50 million fund for the

Nigerian Oil and Gas Parks Scheme (NOGAPS) product manufacturing line.

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The Board, in a statement, quoted NCDMB Executive Secretary Simbi Kesiye Wabote as making the disclosure over the weekend, during the commissioning of the state-of-the-art valve assembly facility established by Catobi Nigeria Enterprises Limited in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The statement added that the fund would support oil and gas companies operating in oil and gas parks developed by the Council in Bayelsa and Cross River State. The parks are expected to be commissioned and operational in the 4th quarter of 2022 and would incubate the manufacturing of equipment components used in the oil and gas industry and create approximately 2,000 jobs at each park.

“NCDMB understands the challenge associated with manufacturing, particularly the reluctance of banks to provide loans to manufacturers, due to the long repayment period of these facilities. He revealed that the NOGAPS Manufacturing fund will soon be launched and will be managed by the Bank of Industry (BoI) to address the identified challenges.

“The new fund would be a stand-alone product line with a distinct fund allocation and special eligibility criteria and collateral structure. The Board’s decision to establish the product was informed by the particularities of the manufacturing sector, which include infrastructure challenges, long gestation, long lead times to returns, low product margins and high business risk, in addition to the reluctance of commercial banks to lend to the sector and the application of stringent guarantees and eligibility criteria when loans are granted,” the statement explained.

While commending Catobi Nigeria Enterprises Limited for its contribution to achieving the Council’s 10-year strategic roadmap, Wabote noted that the upgrade of the facility will strengthen valve assembly operations in the country, maintenance and instrumentation services. He revealed that the valve assembly plant now has the capability to handle shut-off and control valve testing, bunker pressure safety testing operations, valve assembly and disassembly.

“Catobi Nigeria Enterprise Ltd is a superb example of what a Nigerian oil and gas services company can become over a period of time to demonstrate the resilience of Nigerian business,” Wabote added.

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He called on other service companies to emulate the company in investing in manufacturing and promoting the development of services that will benefit the Nigerian economy.

The Chairman of Catobi Nigeria Enterprise Ltd, Dr Okey Ukaegbu appreciated the support he had received from the industry through the implementation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 He mentioned that with the new valve assembly plant, the company will be able to serve other sectors of the economy.

According to Ukaegbu, “The plant is a great opportunity to showcase the capability of a Nigerian company and we are ready to continue to meet the needs and demands of the industry with prompt delivery at the right cost.”

In his address, the President of the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), Mr. Nicolas Odinuwe called on the industry operators to give opportunity to the members of the association as they possessed the capabilities and capabilities to deliver. He said: “We have the best equipment, and if there is no opportunity, you cannot develop your skills.”

The board established the NCI fund in 2018 with the aim of financing oil and gas companies to increase their capacity and develop Nigerian content in the industry. Currently, the NCI fund has five product lines that are managed by the Bank of Industry. They include – Manufacturing Funding – $10 million; Asset Acquisition Financing – $10 million; Contract funding – $5 million; Loan Refinance – $10 million and Community Entrepreneur Funding – N20 million.

The Board also has a working capital of $30 million for oil and gas service companies and

$20 million fund for the Women in Oil and Gas Response Fund. Both facilities are administered by the Nexim Nigerian Export-Import Bank and the agreements were signed in mid-2021.

“The Executive Secretary emphasized that the manufacturing sector is central to the Federal Government and NCDMB’s overall initiative to grow the economy and build local capacity in the supply chain. He highlighted the link between access to manufacturing finance and the viability of Nigeria’s oil and gas parks when they become operational.