The Federal Government has created a $40mln fund for women entrepreneurs in the Nigerian oil and gas industry under the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCI Fund).

The fund was created through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and NEXIM Bank.

Speaking at the annual general meeting of the Oil and Gas Trainers’ Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) held in Abuja with the theme “Diversity & Inclusiveness in Human Capital development for the Energy Sector,” the Executive Secretary NCDMB, Simbi Kesiye Wabote, said the unavailability of funds is one of the key challenges that often hinder the participation of women in oil and gas activities.

According to him, the Board had addressed the issue through the NCI Fund, “To provide a fair chance for women in the oil and gas industry, the Board partnered with the NEXIM Bank to establish a $20mln fund that was matched with an additional $20mln fund by NEXIM bank, making the total pool of funds available to women in oil and gas to be $40mln.”

He explained that the Board and its partners have introduced and implemented several initiatives that promote diversity in the oil and gas industry.

He noted that some of those gender-focused interventions were being implemented in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BoI) while others were facilitated by the Nigerian Export-Import Bank.

The Executive Secretary, further stated that another step taken by the Board to drive diversity in oil and gas activities was the setting up of the Diversity Sectoral Group in the Nigerian Content Consultative Forum (NCCF).

“The Board has also organised events that were targeted at women and community activities to promote inclusiveness,” he added.

He mentioned that NCDMB’s efforts to lead the womenfolk into the mainstream of the Nigerian oil and gas industry were recognised at the 5th Nigerian International Energy Summit this year when the agency was bestowed with an award of the “Best Gender Support Company in the Energy Space.”

Speaking on Human Capacity Development, the NCDMB boss explained that it adds significant value to the energy sector, and contributes to developing local content in the energy sector.

He also confirmed that the Board’s Human Capacity Development model has no gender bias as it is inclusive and provides equal opportunities to all applicants and beneficiaries.

He hinted that NCDMB had put in place the 60-20-20 training model in which 60 per cent of the training resources provided by the Board and the industry are devoted to providing young Nigerians with the specialised skills they need to secure employment.

In view of this, he assured that the Board will continue to develop female members of staff to occupy key positions in preparation for higher leadership roles as well as continue to promote Human Capacity Development across various spheres of the energy sector, including skill development and entrepreneurship programs and STEM development across secondary and tertiary institutions to prepare youths for the future.

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