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CONTROVERSY OVER $200 MILLION LOCAL CONTENT FUND INVESTMENT

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CONTROVERSY OVER $200 MILLION LOCAL CONTENT FUND INVESTMENT

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A palpable controversy has arisen over the management and investment of the $200million Nigeria Content Development Fund (NCIF) domiciled in Bank of Industries (BOI) meant for the development of local content capacity for Nigerian firms and communities engaged in the oil and gas industry.

This came to light during a meeting of the Senate Committee on Local Content Committee with the management of BOI and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) on the fund, accruing from a 1% deduction from all oil and gas contracts in Nigeria, based on the provisions of Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010.

Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West) the chairman of the senate committee and other members of the committee has expressed surprise that the copy of the agreement between NCDMB and BOI was only signed but undated and has no proof of having being sealed which may render any provisions therein legally unenforceable.

The Managing Director of BOI Mr. Kayode Pitan however insisted that the originals of the agreement was duly sealed but is in the office adding that such could be provided at a later date. The Committee directed that the agreement be dated and sealed for re-submission before its admissibility before the Committee.

Further controversy arose when BOI was requested to brief the committee on its investment of the fund since its receipts about over six months ago and the accruing interest on the fund split between N15 billion and $80million. BOI management could not effectively explain its investment policy and the rationale for its low interest rate of 3% when such investment could attract up 16% in the investment market.

Senator Adeola regretted that from the figures provided, the N15 billion could only yield a paltry N173million in six months while $80million yielded only $800,000 over the same period adding that based on this BOI should provide additional documentation to clarify its investment policies of the fund that is meant to be disbursed to local companies and communities as loans at 8% interest rate to boost their financial capacity in participating in oil and gas industry of the nation.

Among the documents requested were investment agreement from where BOI made investments, list of companies that benefitted from the invested fund, copy of the BOI Charter in addition to the duly dated and sealed agreement between BOI and NCDMB.

The meeting was attended by Engineer Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Senators Godswill Akpabio, the Seante Minority Leader and vice chairman of the committee, Albert Akpan, Abdulfatai Buhari, Abubakar Gumel, Obinna Ogba, Biodun Olujimi, Uche Elendu, Rafiu Ibrahim and Kabir Marafa.

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