04 February 2014, Abuja – A study of the draft national content regulation being proposed for operation in Nigeria’s Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has indicated that the commission may seek to retain at least 95 per cent of available jobs in the sector for Nigerians.
Perhaps aware of the country’s challenges with in-country retention of operational opportunities in her oil and gas sector, NERC has also proposed in the draft local content regulation for NESI, that the lucrative but volatile business of insurance and reinsurance in the sector be reserved solely for Nigerian practitioners.
Though subject to final approval, the draft which was obtained from the commission recently in Abuja, in summary seeks to have Nigerians comprehensively take charge of operations and development of the country electricity market especially in view of its anticipated swift expansion.
Key industry stakeholders who spoke with THISDAY on the development of the regulation described it is as a pan-Nigerian guideline with a firm intention to avoid the country’s mistakes in her oil and gas sector.
Also in the regulation, is NERC’s establishment of a Joint Qualification System (JQS) to ascertain extant in-country capacities in the sector as well as evaluation of operators’ application of the regulation.
“All companies shall give first consideration for suitably qualified Nigerians for employment and training. For each of its operations, an operator or project promoter may retain a maximum of 5 per cent management positions as may be approved by the commission as expatriate positions.
Where there is need for employment of an expatriate, a company shall apply to the commission for approval to do so. All operators and companies operating in the NESI shall employ only Nigerians in their junior and intermediate cadre or any other corresponding grades designated by the operator or company,” sections of the regulation said.
It further noted that: “Where Nigerians are not employed because of their lack of training, the operator shall ensure to the satisfaction of the commission, that every reasonable effort has been made to supply such training and such effort and the procedure for execution shall be contained in the operators employment and training plan.
Licensees working through their Nigerian subsidiaries shall demonstrate that a minimum of 51 per cent of the equipment deployed for execution of work are owned by the Nigerian subsidiaries.”
On the establishment of a JQS, the draft regulation stated that: “The commission shall establish, maintain and operate a Joint Qualification System (JQS) in consultation with industry stakeholders which shall be administered in accordance with provisions set out in these regulations.
NERC had in line with its statutory mandates as contained in Section 32 (1) (a) of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) which grants it the task to “create, promote, and preserve efficient industry and market structures, and to ensure the optimal utilisation of resources for the provision of electricity services,” set up the local content regulation.
The commission in its justification of the law indicated that the gradual entry of greater private participation in the generation and distribution sectors of NESI as well as the expected commencement of the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM) necessitates that it puts in place various enablers to support the orderly development of the sector.
It equally explained that the general focus of the regulation is on breaking down service-by-service what proportion of work must be domesticated or reserved to a given degree for Nigerian companies through prescribed capacity limits and regulation on recruitment into key technical and executive positions.
According to NERC, the regulation when passed is expected to promote a framework that will ensure that local competencies are built to internationally acceptable standards through the active participation of Nigerians and the deployment of Nigerian natural resources and raw materials in electricity industry activities; it equally added that it will applicable every licensee in NESI.
– Chineme Okafor, This Day