By Victor Ahiuma-Young
PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has decried the care-free attitude of oil and gas companies operating in the country to the provisions of the Nigerian Content Development, NCD Act 2010, that deal with succession, capacity and empowerment plans for Nigerians.
The workers union said there is the need to impress it on multinational, national and indigenous oil and gas companies to comply with the provisions of the Act, which seeks to increase indigenous participation in the petroleum industry, particularly the upstream sector.
PENGASSAN insisted that the multinationals must adhere to the provisions on succession, capacity and empowerment plans as well as quota for expatriates in management and other positions.
Addressing members of the National Executive Council, NEC, in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, President of PENGASSAN, Mr. Babatude Ogun, further demanded the inclusion of its members in the Nigerian Content Monitoring Development Board
He argued that this is “To give room for proper monitoring of Nigerian Content Policy.” Adding, “We are obliged to ensure that this policy brings about the necessary transfer of knowledge, technology and detailed engineering designs of importance to Nigeria and this can only be achieved by our branches ensuring that they are vigilant in monitoring their organisations’ plans, programmes and implementation.
“We need to employ the services of experts in oil and gas policy to advise the association on our responses to the NCD Act in relations to expatriate quota registration and renewal, beyond the managerial position of five percent for positions in the middle-management, supervisory and projects, which some companies still flagrantly violate.
This will help us in monitoring the effective implementation of the Nigerian Content Development in achieving its goals.
It will also help to determine which of the jobs that are given to the expatriates can be done by Nigerians who are experts in these fields.”
Ogun also expressed oil workers concern over the perceived lack of transparency in the manner in which the National Assembly and the executive arm of government are handling the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, currently before the legislators.
He lamented that “various representations and letters have been made to the President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan that the National Assembly should publicise the authentic version of the Bill being processed as well as all amendments so far made on its website to promote transparency, accountability and ensure robust contributions from all stakeholders within the limit of the contents of the Bill.
“We reiterate that before its passage, the National Assembly has to adequately accommodate our expressed concerns on issues bothering on job security, staff pension and gratuity, conditions of service and other social obligations.
“We equally have cried out against the issue of employees transfer/transition matters as they apply to both employees in the National Oil Company, NOC and Joint Venture, JV companies, to douse the tension that has trailed the exercise.”
He said the Ministry of Labour should treat the issues with dispatch to avoid attendant future crisis.