By Emeke Alexander
The Delta State Government says it will ensure that there is equitable participation of Deltans in the activities of companies operating in the state.
The Director-General, Delta State Local Content Agency, Dr Morris Idiovwa, on Monday while briefing newsmen at the Government House Annex in Warri, said the State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa is committed to the establishment of the agency to ensure that compliance is enforced across the state.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on September 16, 2021, pursuant to section three of the Delta State Local Content Agency Law, 2020, established the Delta State Local Content Agency to another amongst aid local indigenous companies to exploit local opportunities while staying competitive, organize specialized programs and training for entrepreneurship development, including start-up, establishment and economic empowerment of community contractors and workers as well as coordinate and embark on programmes to increase indigenous Local Content in the operation of companies in Delta State.
The agency is also saddled with the responsibility to facilitate the provision of local content jobs and project partnership, through a network of local, national and international organizations and agencies, as well as private sector bodies, community-based and civil society organisations in the state.
In addition, the agency is to monitor and ensure compliance with the terms of any Memorandum of Understanding, General Memorandum of Understanding and Agreements executed between Companies and host and impacted communities within the State.
Director-General of the agency, Dr Morris Idiovwa, said the creation of Agency became imperative in the state, due to her coastal nature which plays host to several extractive industries and to further enhance the industrialization drive of the Okowa administration.
Idiovwa said, “The purpose why the Local Content Law was domesticated in Delta state is so that the state government can manage the operations and empowerment of the International Oil Companies (IOCs).
“The Delta state Local Content is not limited to the IOCs alone unlike the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) that is limited to IOCs.
“We intend to organise all the companies operating in Delta State, bring them together in one hall and pass the message to them.”
Dr Idiovwa disclosed that the agency in achieving its mandate will engage the rural dwellers, community leaders, President-Generals, traditional rulers and other stakeholders from three senatorial districts of the state.
He said the agency will create a data bank of indigenes of the state from where companies will draw manpower of different categories and carry out audits of companies to ensure compliance of 70/30 per cent participation.
“We have designed a pictorial of activities that we intend to roll out. Hopefully, these activities will begin to come out as we progress.
“We will partner and His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has mentioned it severally that he will go down with the Agency to ensure that compliance is enforced across the state.
“Every category of job that is 500,000 dollars and below must be given exclusively to indigenes of Delta state,” said Idiovwa.
The GMOUs according to him will re-modify since the existing ones are watery and vulnerable.
“We believe that the GMOUs that we have now are too watery and vulnerable. When we go into GMOUs negotiations, we will insist as an Agency that certain categories of jobs must be exclusively set aside for the indigenes.
Delta State Local Content Agency DG gave a pass mark to the implementation of the National Local Content Law as according to him local participation has drastically improved.
He however called for the stabilization of the Niger Delta region in the area of peace and security which is a major prerequisite for the actualization of the agitation for the relocation of the headquarters of most oil and gas companies to the region.