Nigeria’s government has launched a special fund worth US$100 million to take care of securing the credit that the oil industry of the country needs.
Called a Nigerian Content Intervention Fund, the vehicle will be managed by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board and the Bank of Industry.
Until now, Nigerian oil service companies could benefit from a 50 percent interest rebate on loans from commercial banks plus partial security. These were provided by the Nigeria Content Development Fund, which was launched in 2012.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the NCDMB said the new fund was set up in response to difficulties cited by local oil industry players in obtaining borrowed funds for their operations.
Patrick Obah added that the board and the Bank of Industry were dedicated to providing assistance to oil services companies that wanted to create more jobs locally, retain their revenues in-country and add value to the economy.
Nigeria’s oil sector has been deeply troubled by falling oil prices, and more recently, by a long string of attacks on oil production and transport infrastructure. Some of these attacks, though not targeting people, have ended with human casualties.
The groups taking responsibility for the attacks have stated that their aim is to redirect a bigger portion of state oil revenues from the capital Lagos to the impoverished region of the Niger Delta, where the country’s oil industry is concentrated.
Just the other day, senior government officials from the two southern provinces of Nigeria urged the central government to revise the oil well ownership regulations in such a way as to give Niger Delta communities a bigger share of the profits.
“The people of the Niger Delta region should possess at least 65 percent of the oil wells contrary to the present ownership structure where less than 10 percent of the oil blocks belong to our people,” the legislators said.