Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, on Monday charged Bayelsa businessmen and women to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to grow and sustain their businesses.
Governor Dickson, who identified the development of small and medium scale enterprises as critical to jump-start any economy, gave the charge while declaring open a two-day Succession Planning Workshop for Nigerian Agip Oil Company Small and Medium Scale Vendors in Yenagoa.
He said access to capital remains the major constraint in the development and sustainability of business and called on Bayelsans to get actively involved in the oil and gas industry to enable them take charge of their local economy.
The governor, in a press statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Francis Agbo, lauded Agip and its joint ventures for organizing the workshop, urging the oil company to avail the government of the statistics of indigenous businesses it has been able to empower through the business finance scheme.
He restated his position on the relocation of the corporate offices of international oil companies to their primary places of operation in the Niger Delta and implored the NCDMB to expedite work on its 17-storey headquarters building in Yenagoa.
His words: “Businesses must continue beyond those who found them. Just like government, they also need continuity. It is because of continuity that most of the investments I made in my first tenure are now being sustained even in this recession. And you are seeing life changing mega projects coming to reality.
“I charge you all to take this workshop very seriously and continue to hone your skills and get more involved in the oil and gas industry, which is your own industry. Don’t leave spaces for others to occupy and then turn to your own comfort zone and begin to complain of marginalization.”
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, said the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund would be managed on behalf of the board by the Bank of Industry, which is expected to be domiciled in Yenagoa.
Engr. Wabote highlighted the four key areas the fund is expected to address, which include manufacturing, contract financing for community contractors as well as asset and equipment acquisition.
In his address, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of NAOC, Mr. Massimo Insulla, said the workshop is targeted at equipping proprietors and managers of SMEs with skills and best practices in planning for the continuity and sustainability of their businesses.
Mr. Insulla also enumerated NAOC’s efforts toward creating the enabling environment for oil and gas businesses to thrive, including undertaking feasibility studies for the construction of a new 150,000 barrels per day refinery in the Niger Delta.
Highpoint of the workshop was the signing of a memorandum of understanding between NAOC and United Bank for Africa Plc for the Vendor Finance Scheme.