NCDMB warns IOCs against sacking Nigerians

15 August, 2011, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has asked international operating and service oil companies to stop relieving Nigerians of their appointments without recourse to due process.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Ernest Nwapa, speaking while receiving a delegation of Jiangsu Yulong Steel Pipe Company of China at the Board’s headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Friday, said the Board is implementing the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act to build capacity in the industry, create and retain jobs for Nigerians especially in the oil and gas industry.

He stated that recent feedback from the Board’s engagement with stakeholders, reports from staff in the operating companies and complaints from the unions in the industry indicate that operating companies have begun to take trained and experienced Nigerians off jobs and replace them with expatriates.

Nwapa stressed that any plan to relieve Nigerians of their jobs without due recourse to existing laws in the industry would be contrary to the spirit and letters of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act.

According to him, “A dangerous trend is emerging in the industry regarding human capacity utilization by the major operators. While government is making efforts and instituting policies and strategies to create employment and provide a conducive environment for the industry, instead of supporting government efforts, operators are perfecting plans to downsize and restructure in order to remove Nigerians who have gained capacity over the years without recourse to due process.”

The Executive Secretary noted that such plans especially by the operating and service companies are not driven by any restructuring needs as information available indicates that applications for expatriate quota by these companies to the Board have increased recently and are often predicated on the reason that experienced hands are not available in the Nigerian labour market.

The ES reminded operators in the industry that the corner stone of the Board’s mandate is to protect existing human capacity in Nigeria and ensure that Nigerian jobs are not unduly jeopardized.

Consequently, he advised that all operators should put such staff release exercises on hold until they can demonstrate the necessity of their actions, especially at this time and ensure that expatriates are not recruited to work in positions Nigerians can competently hold.

Nwapa drew the attention of the industry to Section 28, sub section (1) of the Nigerian Content Act which provides that Nigerians should be given first consideration for employment and training on projects.

The Executive Secretary promised that the Board will continue to work with all relevant agencies of government, including the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure that jobs of qualified Nigerians are not unduly jeopardized.

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