…Flays Oil Majors For Flouting Act.

Bight Newspaper reports that the Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has urged the Federal Government to stop paying lip service towards implementing the Nigerian Local Content Act to give a sense of belonging to oil and gas producing areas in the country.

Governor Diri made the call, on Tuesday, at a dinner organized by the state government for participants at the 12th Practical Nigerian Content annual conference in Yenagoa.

Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor decried the refusal of the multinational oil companies prospecting for oil and gas in Bayelsa to open their corporate offices in the state.

A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, on Wednesday, quoted the Governor as describing the attitude of the oil majors as a flagrant disregard for the Local Content Act enacted since 2010.

He likened Bayelsa to a cow that is being milked without being fed, describing the situation where oil companies operate in the state but pay taxes to other states merely hosting their headquarters, particularly Lagos State, as most unfair and inequitable.

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According to the Governor, over 60 percent of the feedstock of natural gas being processed and exported from the LNG Terminal at Bonny in Rivers State is supplied from the gas fields in Bayelsa, whereas, the firms pay all taxes to the Rivers State Government.

This, he noted, does not only negate the natural principle of equity and fairness, but also deprives the state of billions of naira as revenue from taxes every year.

Senator Diri commended the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, for his astuteness that has brought about far reaching strategic changes at the NCDMB.

He, however, urged the Board to prevail on oil companies to open subsidiary corporate offices and pay statutory taxes to the state.

His words: “I must say that the Local Content Board under you have done very well in several aspects. We congratulate you on your achievements.

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“But the Bayelsa State Government is not totally happy about where we are. We believe that the Local Content without the oil companies operating from Bayelsa is not local content enough for us.

“All the multinational oil companies have their head offices outside Bayelsa State. They have their headquarters in Lagos State. So, all the PAYE tax is being collected by the Lagos State Government.

“The only thing we collect in Bayelsa is the noise of the helicopter and the fumes coming from the oil and gas industry. For me, that is revenue colonialism or imperialism.

“We must all gather as part of Local Content to stop this inequity and anomaly. If our land is not good enough for the companies to stay, the money from our land should also not be good enough for them to collect.”

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Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Secretary to the State Government, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei, drew a parallel between the country and Singapore, noting that Nigeria is where she is because of poor leadership, 66 years after political independence.

He said Singapore had since moved into the rank of developed nations through patriotic leadership and efficient use of resources, yet Nigeria with all her abundant resources still remains a Third World nation.

Gideon Ekeuwei praised the NCDMB for taking the bold initiative to develop human capacity locally in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy through its annual Practical Nigerian Content Forum.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, expressed gratitude to the state government for providing support to ensure the success of the 12th Practical Nigerian Content Summit.

Other pictures from event;

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