Sylva Inaugurates Local Content Research & Development Fund, Technology Incubation Centre

By: Igoniko Oduma Yenagoa

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, has officially inaugurated the Nigerian Content Research and Development Fund (NCRDF) and its Council to drive the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board’s (NCDMB) intervention in research and development in the country’s oil and gas industry.

The Nigerian Content Research and Development Council is headed by the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, with members drawn from the oil and gas industry, government and the academia.

Sylva performed the ceremony on Thursday while declaring open the 2nd NCDMB Fair and Conference held at the board’s corporate headquarters in Yenagoa with the theme, ‘Creating Sustainable Collaboration in Research and Development for the Energy Industry and its Linkage Sector’.

At the event, the minister also commissioned the NCDMB Technology Incubation Innovation Centre (TIIC) located inside the Local Content Towers in the Bayelsa State capital.

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Prior to the conference, the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) chaired by NCDMB’s Director of Planing, Research and Statistics, Mr Patrick Obah, had been inaugurated to ensure transparent evaluation of proposals for research funding.

The minister represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, announced a $50m capital for the NCRDF which focuses on four areas namely, research studies, commercialization of research, establishment of centres of excellence and endowment of professorial chair.

Sylva, while commending the NCDMB for the initiative, said, “The theme of this conference is timely and it captures our collective commitment to aggressively drive innovation and position our industry on the path of an integrated energy sector where key development and production solutions are sourced through local capabilities.

“Let me formally inaugurate the council for a tenure of two years. I expect that the council consisting of seasoned subject matter experts from the industry, government and the academia will consolidate on the gains made so far made to proffer sound advice and guidance that will shape the direction of the NCRDF.”

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He explained further that the TIIC would provide the platform for idea generation, incubation and acceleration of innovative ideas for the market place.

The minister called on industry stakeholders and the teeming youths in the country to take advantage of the centre to bolster adaptation of existing solutions and also come up with new ones to address major challenges in the industry.

In his remarks, the NCDMB boss said the time had come for Nigeria to nurture a home-grown technology rather than being wholesome consumer of other countries’ innovations.

Wabote said the agency was focused on research and development as one of the six parameters that are essential for the country’s sustainable development.

He said, “The research and development fund is in fulfillment of the NCDMB mandate to achieve the target of 70 per cent Nigerian Content by 2027, and research and development is one of the key parameters for sustainable local content practice.”

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The Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Douye Diri represented by his deputy, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, commended the NCDMB for the conference and pledged the state government’s commitment to providing the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the state.

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