Senator Natasha urges NCDMB to make $400m funds available to Nigerians

Senator Natasha urges NCDMB to make $400m funds available to Nigerians

  • Ever-active Kogi Central Senator, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, uncovered N500 billion lying idle for years
  • The Senator called for appropriate utilisation of the funds, which she said she believes could do a lot of good to the nation's economy
  • The Senator also tasked the NCDMB to make funding available to able Nigerians with brilliant ideas

Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content, has called on the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to make funding opportunities accessible to ordinary Nigerians.

She made this call while revealing that $400m intervention funds for the oil and gas sector had been lying idle in some financial institutions for several years.

Kogi Central Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan
Senator Akpoti uncovers idle-lying N500 billion funds meant for ordinary Nigerians
Source: Twitter

According to her, out of the intervention funds uncovered, $30m was allocated for capacity building in oil and gas, while $20m was earmarked for women in oil and gas businesses.

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Another $50m of local content development fund for research and development in oil and gas industries was also deposited in the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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She said that these funds would attract oil and gas equipment manufacturers to NOGaPS facilities, as well as increase access to affordable finance by the manufacturing entities.

She added that the board should explain how they can access the fund to Nigerians who are not aware of its availability.

NCDMB says $300m fund has been disbursed

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr Felix Ogbo, responded to the senator’s query by stating that $300m meant for Nigeria Content Intervention Fund is still domiciled in the Bank of Industry, reported the Nigerian Tribune.

He said that the entire $300m has been disbursed and that the total amount disbursed so far amounts to $330m. He explained that as beneficiaries repay, the money would be given to others who want to borrow.

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He also said that five companies out of the seventy companies that accessed the fund have fully repaid the loan and that it has been efficient and successful.

He disclosed that the only challenge was during COVID-19 when there was a global economic shutdown, and the board interacted with the BoI managing the fund to give the companies a two-year moratorium to enable them to recover from the pandemic.

“Bank of Industry carries out quarterly monitoring to ensure the companies use the loan for the purpose it was meant for. We also carry out joint annual project monitoring with the Bank of Industry,” Ogbo said.

Senator Natasha calls for synergy among sectors

In a post made on the PDP official Twitter handle, Senator Natasha, however, noted that the oil and gas sector cannot work in isolation from other sectors, calling for synergy among them.

She tasked the management of the board to interact with the international oil companies operating in Nigeria on how to establish manufacturing companies in the country through the use of by-products of gas like polypropylene for the manufacturing of syringes, protective wares and other products instead of making Nigeria just an extracting hub.

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She lamented that while Chevron, apart from crude oil exploration in Saudi Arabia, also manufactures polypropylene (one of the waste products from gas) to produce syringes which fetch Saudi Arabia $6 billion annually, the Jubilee Syringe Plant in Bayelsa collapsed due to the gap in the operational model of the international oil companies, The Vanguard reported.

“I am glad that quite a number of various committee chairmen were here, and everyone is all passionate and committed on the same goal to grow Nigeria, to grow capacity in product and services that will support not only the oil and gas but in turn other critical sectors that will benefit from the oil and gas sector,” she said.

As part of its oversight functions, the committee mandated the management to submit the audited account of NCDMB from 2021 to 2022, the budgetary performances of 2022 and 2023, and the nominal roll of the board.

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Survivor extends gratitude to Senator Natasha for surgery support

Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that the Kogi central senator, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, helped a fire accident victim, Mr Sunday Enemakwu, to get plastic and reconstructive surgery in India.

Mr Enemakwu said he was grateful for the senator’s contribution to his surgery, which he had in New Delhi in February 2023.

Source: Legit.ng

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