Financial Institutions Need to Support the Local Content Initiative
WITH a mission to sustain growth, profitability and customer confidence, by continually advancing the performance of its operations and the quality of service delivery. Plant Engineering Limited has continued to contribute enormously to the Nigerian oil and gas industry as an advocate of the Nigerian Local Content Act.
Established as an equal employment provider to Nigerians, Mr. Daere Akobo, the Chief Executive Officer of the firm who has over 18 years experience in the operations of the oil and gas industry was informed by the need to bridge the gap between the oil producing and equipment manufacturing companies which subsequently gave birth to Plant Engineering Limited in 2009.
A Fellow of the Institute of Directors, London and a graduate of Applied Physics, his thirst for knowledge also took him to Manchester Business School, Insead Business School and the prestigious Harvard University, USA. On how the company has been able to forge ahead despite the harsh business environment in Nigeria, he said, “I knew from the onset that there will be challenges but I see challenges as opportunities for growth. Business has been challenging as occasioned by inadequate funding and skilled manpower in the country, however, we have been able to improve on our domain expertise and as well build on what we intend to do now and in the future.
“Interestingly, our business is built on 3Cs and 3Ts. The 3Cs stands for Character, Capacity and Commitment while the 3Ts stands for Transparency, Trust and Time. There are quite a number of opportunities that abound in the country but what we do is to focus on our targets and not giving room for distractions in our business. The fact that oil prices has dropped doesn’t mean that business has stopped but we have positioned ourselves with relevant equipment manufacturers using the 3Cs and 3Ts model to leverage on what is required in providing our clients with excellent service delivery. As a leading partner in Nigeria’s energy sector, we provide a comprehensive range of supply chain and project management services which we deliver by maximizing local content because it is critical to the ongoing success of our business.”
A company fully committed to the Nigerian Content Act, the CEO applauded the past administration for its support for Nigerian companies and urged the present administration to build on what has been achieved. According to him, “the attributes of the Local Content Act was well managed by the previous administration. It was the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa; it was successful to a very large extent because we are a beneficiary of the Act. As regards expectations in this new administration, what is expected is change; change is difficult but dynamic. It is also important that stakeholders in the industry cooperate with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board to actualize the goals of the Act. Presently, we are building a valve automation centre which is a first of its kind in the country; it has a lot to do with local content. We have worked on a number of significant projects which could have been given to foreign companies to manage but because we have the Nigerian Content certificate, the Nigerian Content Board stood by us because they find us worthy having inspected our plants.
However, there is great need for the financial institutions to plug in their support.”
Akobo who worked for several years at General Electric described integrity has a virtue which has been a part of him since his days at GE. “Our core values as earlier stated guides our business activities. Character is like a monument which does not change by any circumstance. We are operating in a very harsh economy where people feel one cannot succeed in business without cutting corners but we have done a number of businesses with multinationals where we returned money because it was not part of our contractual agreement. Integrity is what we teach our employees so it is not a matter of choice, it is a must”, he stressed.
Going forward, the astute CEO disclosed that the company is working on a long term plan which would make it a frontliner in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. “We are currently growing the company to have subsidiaries. Work is already on top gear to separate the valve business which would be known as Valve Automation Centre Nigeria Limited and we are also taking the flow metering system apart to be known as Rotor and Fluid Limited. Our goal is to be the first indigenous company engaged in project and equipment supplies to celebrate 50 years anniversary”, he enthused.
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