Nestoil Boss Urges FG to Prioritize Capacity in Job Allocation to Nigerian Firms

Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, Chairman of Nestoil Limited, has called for a reform in the implementation of the Nigerian content policy, emphasizing that contracts should be awarded based on the capacity to deliver, rather than simply the lowest bid.

Speaking on Monday during a panel session on ‘Exportation of Local Capacity: Maximising Regional Opportunities’ at the ongoing Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja, Azudialu-Obiejesi highlighted the need to foster local capacity by awarding projects to companies with a proven track record.

He pointed out that Nigeria has the potential to become a net exporter to other African countries but stressed the importance of addressing the challenges hindering this growth. “To truly grow local capacity, projects must be awarded to companies that have demonstrated the capability to deliver,” he said.

According to him, “We can export the capacity in the oil and gas industry to other countries and exporting them means we need to enshrine and make sure that we’ll have those companies that are in Nigeria already developed better and entrench all those capacities in terms of human resources, experiences, capital and equipment, so you can export them to other countries outside Nigeria.

“But also, in doing that, I recognise that one of the enabling tools is the NCDMB, which is the local content board. That content board has done quite well but also, we still have setbacks in terms of how these laws are enforced, to protect the local companies.

“And we’ve also seen that one of the reasons why the local companies are not doing very well is because they don’t have what we’ll call a good bidding process.

“A bidding process where everybody says if you quote the lowest price, they will give you the job and there are a lot of people who are under-qualified contractors who don’t have the capacity, but they will tell you they have a connection, and because of that they will go and bid for jobs they cannot do at lowest prices. So, these things have to be checkmated”, he added.

Azudialu-Obiejesi’s comments underscore the importance of capacity building in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, advocating for a strategic approach to contract allocation that supports sustainable development and regional competitiveness.