ExxonMobil, banks boost indigenous contractors’ capacity with $8.6bn scheme

ABUJA – Nigeria’s local content policy on Tuesday received a major boost with the launch of a financial scheme amounting to $8.6 billion by ExxonMobil Nigeria, aimed at increasing the capacity of indigenous contractors in the oil and gas industry.

The ExxonMobil Nigeria Contractor Finance Scheme, which is a partnership between the oil major and 12 leading Nigeria banks, seeks to support Nigeria’s national content aspirations by providing ExxonMobil contractors better funding options to fulfill contracts awarded to them.

The initiative, which was launched on Tuesday in Lagos, will enable contractors to avail themselves of the sum of $8.6 billion available under the scheme.

The banks involved in the scheme include First¬Bank, Stanbic IBTC, GTBank, Ecobank, Zenith, Access, Citibank, Standard Chartered, UBA, Union bank, FCMB and Fidelity.

ExxonMobil, banks boost indigenous contractors’ capacity with $8.6bn schemeMark Ward, chairman and managing director, ExxonMobil Upstream affiliates in Nigeria, speaking at the commissioning ceremony for the scheme, said, “Partnering with 12 leading Nigerian banks, it is our expectation that with the $8.6 billion available under the scheme, ExxonMobil contractors nationwide would be able to access better and quicker funding options to enable them execute their contracts speedily. The cooperation of the banks has proved invaluable to the successful rollout of this scheme.”

He said the scheme underscored one of the three key elements of ExxonMobil’s national content programme which seeks to develop local suppliers to form a competitive base.

“Since the scheme was introduced in November 2013 at least 24 contractors have been able to access funds under the scheme and we continue to encour¬age more contractors to sign up to the programme. They are ensured easier access to

competitive funding as well as reduced loan processing time which would enhance speedier completion of their contracts while building their capacity,” Ward said.

Ernest Nwapa, executive secretary, Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, who formally flagged off the programme, com¬mended ExxonMobil and the partners for the initiative.

He stressed the need for banks to deepen their financing of indigenous manufacturers in the industry and not just the contractors.

Olufemi Odumuboni, team leader, oil and gas products, FirstBank, told BusinessDay that the banks had been supporting manufacturers and fabricators in the oil and gas industry to enable them manufacture most of their equipment locally.

He said the newly launched scheme would help the national content initiative in the industry, adding that the partner banks had earmarked cer¬tain amount of money to commit to the scheme

– BUSINESS DAY

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