A former Senate Minority Leader and the incumbent Minority Leader Wednesday hailed chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Solomon Adeola, over the way he ran the committee as its pioneer chairman.
A statement by the Media Adviser to Senator Adeola, Chief Kayode Odunaro noted that at the closing ceremony of a two day retreat/valedictory for members of the committee and management of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board(NCDMB) in Abuja, Senator Godwin Akpabio (APC, Akwa Ibom North West), the former minority leader of the Senate and the vice chairman of the Committee said that the leadership of the Senate has been justified in excising of the Local Content Committee from the Petroleum Upstream Committee.
They stressed that Senator Adeola has done well for the 8th Senate in driving the agenda of local content to public glare in its short history of about two years.
“I enjoyed being a member of the Committee as Senator Adeola was always able to carry all members along. In our meetings you always have over 90% attendance by members who are equally chairmen of other committees.
“The reason for that is the drive of Adeola, his inspiration in how legislative oversight should be handled and more importantly, the urge to put Nigeria interest first which is the essence of Local Content” he stated.
On her part, Senator Abiodun Olujimi( PDP, Ekiti South) said that it is a novel thing that Senator Adeola is doing by organizing a valedictory retreat for members of the Committee to take stock after just two years of existence for the first time in the Senate stressing that it will be a good recommendation for all other Senate Committee to carry out similar exercises as a way of ensuring institutional memory is established for the incoming 9th Senate.
“I want to commend Senator Adeola for his sagacity in such a short time of chairing the committee and making it a force to be reckon with in the oil and gas industry. His plan of a smooth transition for the Committee in the 8thSenate to in incoming Committee for the 9th Senate is welcome and I will suggest that a broad stakeholders summit on Local Content to brainstorm on the challenges of implementing the law should be a priority for the next Senate and the Executive arm of government” she stated.
Senator Abubakar Gumel(APC, Jigawa North), another member of the committee noted that only an experienced legislator would have managed the cream of the members of the 8th Senate so well and achieved such with the short history of the committee stressing that Senator Adeola demonstrated that leadership is of essence in any human organization.
“The Committee have two principal officers of the 8th Senate as members, all the 18 members of the committee are chairmen of other important committee of the 8th Senate and for Adeola to have successfully carried everybody along in fighting for the interest of Nigeria shows that he is a good material for leadership in the affairs of Nigeria” he stated.
The Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, said Senator Adeola even though an accountant and with the committee just being established by the 8th Senate without any institutional memory was able to quickly understudy the oil and gas sector and has kept everyone on their toes by not only relying on information from the board but interfacing directly with industry stakeholders in the drive to ensure faithful implementation of Local Content Law of 2010 adding that the incoming 9th Senate should work to amend the Law to cure some of the challenges that has been observed.
Senator Adeola said the stock taking is relevant for the new committee so that those coming after him to head the committee will have a baseline agenda to quickly pursue in the area of Local Content which should now go beyond the oil and gas industry adding that it is a shame we have huge unemployment problem and expatriates will be taking away jobs that we have many qualified Nigerians.
“Most expatriates in Nigeria do not pay taxes to either state of Federal Government. Foreign companies bring in like 200 expatriates and their record will show that only 50 are paying income tax. This cannot be allowed to continue. We have rampant unemployment with constituents out of job. Only about 10% of 200,000 yearly graduates from our institutions are getting job and the Local Content Law is meant to address some of this unemployment crisis facing the nation. We must amend the laws to be applicable beyond the oil and gas industry to embrace manufacturing, construction and ICT,” he stated.
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