How FG’s N16bn fund can increase the role of women in the energy sector

  • NCDMB receives 15 applications and obtains 3 approvals

JAs part of promoting a perspective for women in the oil and gas, as well as renewable energy sectors, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Kesiye Wabote, Engineer, assured that the disbursement of a N16 .6billion Women in Energy Fund will start very soon.

Wabote was speaking at the Nigerian Women’s Oil and Gas Conference in Lagos recently, where he revealed that 15 applications were received and three of them were approved to get part of the fund.

Following the slow pace of women’s participation in the energy sector, the NCDMB has partnered with the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) to raise funds to promote more activities for women. in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

Although women make up 48% of the global workforce, they make up just 22% of the workforce in oil and gas and 32% in renewable energy, according to data. of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

To increase the participation of women in the oil and gas industry, the NCDMB has done a lot. In October 2019, NCDMB boss Wabote announced that the Council would begin formulating gender-responsive policies aimed at increasing access to funding, contracting and support for research and development. development, for the benefit of women operators in the Nigerian oil and gas sector. industry.

Wabote, in her recent speech at the women’s forum, said that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (NOGICD) was instituted as a deliberate program to bring more Nigerians into the industry. oil and gas; there should also be special initiatives to encourage the participation of women in the sector.

“It is estimated that women occupy approximately 50% of non-technical positions at the entry level, compared to only 15% of technical and field positions. Gender diversity decreases with seniority with only a tiny proportion of women in leadership positions. The percentage of women in the industry drops over time from 36% to 24% between the middle and executive levels,” he noted, citing research from the Global Energy Talent Index Report.

The Executive Secretary assured that the Council would work with project developers in the oil and gas industry to secure the award of certain contracts to women-owned businesses, including the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 project.

He also promised that the NCDMB would encourage the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics by young girls in secondary schools and lead to the collection of data on women who participate in various sectors of the world. oil and gas industry, so that they can receive support.

But this is not the first time the NCDMB has promoted such deliberate intervention. In 2017, the Council, in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI), launched a $200 million Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCIF) to provide accessible, low-cost credit to service businesses.

Wabote had said last year that about 85% of the fund had been viewed by Nigerian companies. The fund has approximately five products: equipment financing, contract financing, manufacturing, loan refinancing and community entrepreneur refinancing.

The interest rate on the loan, which is set at 8% with a five-year repayment term and a one-year moratorium, has enabled most Nigerian businesses to refinance their loans.

$40 million fund and its role

The NCDMB and NEXIM, on July 1, 2021, began the rollout of a $40 million response fund for qualified women entrepreneurs in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

And towards the implementation of the Women in Energy Fund, the Diversity Sector Working Group was inaugurated in 2021 to facilitate stakeholder collaboration and the development of ideas for the advancement of Nigerian content in the oil and gas industry.

Wabote, at the recent Women’s Forum in Lagos, said the creation of the Diversity SWG was a product of the Women in Oil & Gas workshop organized by the Council in October 2019.

Under this program, the NCDMB is contributing $20 million to the pool, and it will be matched by the same amount in naira by NEXIM to cover manufacturing, oil service contracts, environmental management, rental, logistics, catering and training.

The target beneficiaries are companies in which women hold a majority stake of 51% or in which at least 50% of the executives are women, or in which the managing directors and at least 40% of the executives are women.

A single debtor can borrow up to $500,000 or its equivalent in naira and have it for five years at only 5% interest rate per annum.

Commenting on the process, NEXIM Bank Managing Director Abubakar Bello said the partnership with the board was part of the bank’s framework to support inclusion, as well as its strategy to grow the industry. services in Nigeria and bringing it to the point of exporting to the West African region and other oil and gas economies.

Giving an update on the status of the fund at the conference hosted by the NCDMB in partnership with the NCCF Diversity Sector Working Group, Wabote said an online portal for the fund had been launched earlier. in June to speed up the process and reduce the human interface in the application process.

He commended the performance of women in various roles in the oil and gas industry and called for their inclusion in the administration of the various trusts and funds that have been established by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, such as the Host Community Development Trust, Host Community Development Trust Fund and Environmental Sanitation Fund.

Also speaking at the forum, particularly on the administration of the Women in Energy Fund, the Managing Director of NEXIM Bank, Mr. Abba Bello, explained that applicants should meet established criteria before they can access the fund.

Bello said, “This is a loan, not a grant, and applicants must meet the requirements for us to achieve the intended goal,” he said.

Represented by the Bank’s Head of Specialty Products, Mr. Mohammed Aumiz, the NEXIM Bank boss explained that it would only take 22 days for an application to be processed and an offer letter to be issued if the company met the criteria.

For his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, at the conference called for greater participation of women in the oil and gas industry, pointing out that harnessing their natural strength, of their intuition, their knowledge and their expertise for the growth of the industry had become essential.

Sylva said women need each other to survive the realities of the oil and gas sector, whether locally or internationally, stressing that more progress could be made if women’s groups in the industry stand together. embraced, adding that it was time to work together to champion the cause of women in the industry.

With the recent appointment of Elohor Aiboni as the Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration & Production as Company (SNEPCo) and Margrey Okadigbo as the Pioneering Chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, the Minister said that the Nigeria would not be left behind in its determination to ensure adequate representation of women in the industry.

Okadigbo urged the NCDMB to consider replicating one of its flagship capacity building programs, the Project-100 module, for empowering Nigerian women in the oil and gas industry.

She said Project 100 was an initiative of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, alongside the NCDMB, to comprehensively review 100 all-indigenous oil and gas companies and take them to the next level by building their capacity, supporting them financially through the NCI Fund and helping them find opportunities in the industry, in conjunction with the NNPC.

“I appeal to NCDMB leadership to consider a replication of the NCDMB Project-100 Module for Women in Oil and Gas. We believe this would do more to encourage more women to participate in the industry,” said the Chairman of the Board of NNPC.

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