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ICT Opportunities In Nigerian Oil And Gas Industry by synw: 12:24pm On Mar 13, 2015
ICT opportunities in Nigerian oil and gas industry

IT is no more a news that ICT practitioners in the country have a big stake in the oil and gas industry.

The domination of some international workers being employed to carry out projects in various onshore and offshore locations in the country instead of the indigenous workforce gave birth to the Nigerian Content Act 2010.

The prevalence of these expatriate workers has resulted in rareness of jobs, skills development, capacity building, and utilisation of the local workforce and, in the long run, a lack of sustained national economic development. In detection of this wrought the Federal Government of recent made efforts to control some portion of economic derivatives from the oil and gas industry by encouraging the development and deliberate application of local human and material resources in the Nigerian oil and gas sector. This led to the enactment of the Nigerian Content Act 2010.

The Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act bill was passed by the House of Representatives on March 3, 2010, also passed by the Senate on March 10, 2010 and finally signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 29th of March 2010.

The Act, in recognising the importance of ICT to the oil and gas sector, specifically in section 58(f) of the Act, directed the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board to set up Nigerian Content Consultative Forum (NCCF) in ICT. The NCCF in ICT is required to consist of stakeholders and regulatory agencies in ICT industry.

The Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, according to section 12, precisely reads that Nigerians are to be given first consideration for the provisions of goods and services in the sector.

Also in the Schedule to the Act, Nigerian are permitted to perform certain percentage in the provision of goods and services in the oil and gas sector.

The focal areas of the NCCF-ICT includes: IT/ICT human capacity building/continuous manpower development; promotion of the acceptance and use of locally developed hardware and software in the oil and gas industry; terms/requirements for accessing ICT related contracts in the industry; research and development on the ICT goods and services needed in the industry and positioning local players to provide the identified needs, which will result in carrying out survey to establish a comprehensive database of existing local ICT capabilities and training needed to enhance those capabilities.

The Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act outlined the following ICT services and their content (NC) level required in the sector. They are: network installation/support services, 85 per cent; network installation/support services, 45 per cent; software development and support services, 51 per cent; computer-based modeling services, 51 per cent; computer-based simulation/training programs services, 51 per cent; CAL/CAP services, 51 per cent; hardware installation support services, 50 per cent; operating system installation/ support services, 50 per cent; user support/help desk services, 60 per cent; library services, 70 per cent; IT management consultancy services. 50per cent; data management services, 60 per cent; telecommunication installation/support services, 60 per cent; data and message transmitting services, 60 per cent; rental of communication lines, 75 per cent; telecommunication subscription services, 85 per cent; public address system services, 95 per cent and other information system (IS)/Information Technology (IT) services, 75 per cent.

Formation of ict local content association

Sequel to an NCCF-ICT meeting which came up in Yenagoa in November 2013, it was learnt that few people in ICT field were aware of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act and only few of these members had the knowledge of the huge financial and investment opportunities that was created by the Act for Nigerians with skills in Information Technology and Communication Technology (ICT). This development prompted the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) in collaboration with National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to organise meetings of stakeholders in the ICT industry to inform them of the provisions of the NOGICD Act and to sensitise them of the arrays of opportunities for them in the oil and gas industry. At the stakeholder’s meeting, it was agreed that there was need for consistent sensitisation for other ICT practitioners to enable them benefit from the opportunities in the industry. They also agreed to come under a forum by establishing an association that would promote their interest in the industry like the Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (PETAN) Manufacturers Association of Nigerian Local Content Group (MAN LOC) etc. This led to the creation of Information Communication Technology Local Content Association, an association which would represent the interest of ICT practitioners in the industry.

The registration of the association with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is now at an advanced stage. The stakeholder’s association already has a secretariat, a Local Content Desk, a live website www.nccf.cpn.ng and has commenced plans for sensitisation campaign to people involved in all areas of ICT products and services required in the oil and gas sector as enumerated in the schedule of the NOGICD Act.

Upon its completion of registration with CAC, the association would work closely with NCDMB to promote the interest of ICT practioners in thier provision of products and services in the oil and gas industry.

Focused areas of Information Communication Technology Local Content Association are as follows: sensitising IT practitioners of the opportunities in the sector; registration of all IT practitioners capable of providing services in the sector on the Joint Qualification System (JQS) which is the databank of available capabilities in the industry; negotiating terms for accessing IT Contracts in the sector; compilation of a directory of persons with capability to provide services in the sector; creating platform for information gathering and sharing among IT practitioners; promoting usage of locally developed software and hardware in the sector; coordinate ICT capacity building programmes in the sector.

To be candid this initiative is not known to many ICT practitioners in the country. There are so many ICT groups who are not members of ITAN, NCS and CPN and do not know about this new initiative. Formal and informal groups should be carried along. Media and online publicity should also be put into consideration. CPN and NCS cannot do these things alone. Local chapters of NCS, ITAN and some other big ICT professional bodies do not have a simple blog to disseminate information to the grassroots people. Information Communication Technology Local Content Association should not be only for big ICT firms in the country. Grassroots and local ICT practitioners should also be part of the stakeholders. CAC must carry street sides computer operators, engineers, animators, web designers, graphic operators, hardware engineers, programmers, database administrators etc, along.

•Wole Adedoyin is the National President, Computer Guild of Nigeria (CGN); National Coordinator, Information Technology Writers Association of Nigeria (ITWAN) and former Director of Publicity, Center for Software and Hardware Engineers, Nigeria.

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