Following repeated moves by the Federal Government in breaching its own local content policy, the country’s construction firms are loosing N2.416 trillion, about one-third of Nigeria’s 2017 national budget to their foreign counterparts.
This came to the fore following several rail projects, worth over $20 billion rail tracks across the country.
INDEPENDENT reliably learnt that indigenous firms are totally excluded from the projects.
But if the extant law on local content policy were to be followed, the nation’s local contractors should execute 40 per cent of such projects.
There are a number of other rail projects, 98 per cent of which were awarded to Chinese firms. They include: Kano State rail, $1.85 billion; Lagos Blue Line light rail, $1.2 billion; Lagos monorail, $1billion; and Abuja light rail, $841.64 million expected to be completed in October. Ogun and Oyo states are also working on some rail projects.
Assessing the scope of work, experts have insisted that Nigerians have the capacity to handle key aspects of the projects, especially laying of tracks, survey and design. They also expressed the fear that Nigeria would end up becoming a dumping ground for rail contractors engaged just to provide infrastructure without adequate manpower to operate and maintain it.
Although the Nigerian government has made frantic efforts to explain the rationale, industry watchers have roundly condemned the step.
According to them, they have the capacity in handling projects requiring millions of man hours in areas of engineering, global procurement, construction, fabrication and installation.
The latest call by Mr. Godwin Izomor, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of MG VowGas Limited, is coming after some stakeholders had accused the government of violating its own law in the construction of over $20 billion rail tracks across the country.
Mr. Izomor made the disclosure at the unveiling of MG VowGas Limited Port Harcourt ultra-modern, fully computerized industrial complex.
The GMD said MG VowGas, as an indigenous construction, fabrication, oil and gas services company, is saddled with the commitment to enhance local capacity and provide competent indigenous workforce for the nation’s oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy.
“MG VowGas Limited aims to be a force and significant player, across the entire value chain of the oil and gas, chemical, petrochemical, industrial and construction industry in Africa and beyond,” he said.
While speaking during a facility tour of the industrial complex in Rivers state recently, Izomor said the formidable team at MG VowGas Limited is predicated on the fact that personnel has experience and capabilities to handle projects of diverse complexity and magnitude.
“We have the capability of handling projects requiring millions of man hours in areas of engineering, global procurement, construction and installation.
“Our team of principal participants has successfully completed highly diverse construction projects in various locations in the areas of oil and gas pipeline facilities, design verification and construction as per all mechanical, electrical, civil works, erosion and flood control works etc.
Mr. Izomor urged the federal government to ensure policies are put in place to checkmate the outflow of fabrication projects out of the county.
“It is for the government to support the local companies to deliberately insist that all jobs should be domiciled here in the country,” he said.
He said the new complex is employing over 120 personnel, and that when there is an ongoing project, the complex can employ over 500 personnel, including contract staffs.
Reports have it that MG VowGas Limited is equipped with modern computerized facilities ranging from plasma cutting machine, drilling machines, milling machines, automatic and manual welding machines to forklifts, cranes/overhead cranes, and more.
Izomor said, there technical expertise resident within the complex to give assistance to local capacity to ensure that outputs meet international standard, adding that the company is ISO 9001 certified.
He also urged the government to tackle the problem of electricity, security, and issues bothering on lack of funding.
He said to reduce cost of providing security for oil and gas facilities in the country, the government should renegotiate with different ethnic groups agitating for different reasons.