Signed, sealed but will it deliver? Nigeria’s local content bill and cross-sectoral growth
AbstractNigeria’s efforts in recent years to pass local content legislation with stringent, ambitious targets and stiff penalties has drawn widespread attention, spurred ongoing discussions, and prompted numerous international workshops, seminars and symposia on local content. Lack of local content has been blamed for high unemployment, lack of capacity and even linked to militancy in the Niger Delta region. After much debate and delay, the bill has now been signed into law. This article reviews Nigeria’s option for a legislative mandate and argues that the bill could be unconstitutionally vague, violate international agreements, such as bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), undermine stability of contract provisions and is unnecessary in the face of contract alternatives that could successfully be utilized to enhance local content. Contract models, such as Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) and Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs), contain ample provisions for enabling local content and have been successfully employed by other resource-rich nations to enhance local content.