The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Management Board (NCDMB), Ernest Nwapa, has said the seeming low keyed execution of critical projects in Nigeriaâ€™s oil and gas sector by stakeholders constitute a huge threat to job security in the sector.
Nwapa, who stated this on the sidelines at the just concluded 2014 edition of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja, argued that there has been a continuous threat to lay-off people in the countryâ€™s oil and gas sector due to the lack of jobs from slated and ongoing projects.
In his evaluation of Nigeriaâ€™s implementation of its local content law in the oil and gas sector within the last three years of its enactment by government, he explained that such limitation in available jobs was also affecting in-country capacity training of personnel by affected service providers, adding that these challenges have been taken into proper consideration by the NCDMB in view of its potential effects on the sector.
â€œThere are two elements in terms of in-country retention; the element of retaining jobs that are already ongoing and the element of growing the number of new jobs,” he said, adding that to keep people working is the major achievement and then to grow the number of new employees and entrants into the industry is another statistics that they are working on.
“I can tell you that there is a continuous threat to lay-off people if jobs are not coming up. If the companies are not getting new contracts, then threat of laying-off capacities will always be there, it is major focus for us and we are working with all these affected service companies to keep encouraging them to train their staff because a whole lot of work is certainly coming with the earnest passage of the PIB,â€ Nwapa said.
He added: â€œWe are also happy. With the steady implementation of the Nigerian Content Act by government, investors are confident that opportunities for using the capacities that we are building over the years remains very positive and we are working on that pedestal also to expand the things that are been done in Nigeria and therefore expand the shop-floors in Nigeria to accommodate more productive Nigerians.â€
The executive secretary also states that the board is initiating a paradigm shift in its quest to ensure a balanced adaptability of the sector to the local content law, adding that job creation in Nigeria is not just the numbers, but quality of the jobs and their impact.
â€œAre they jobs that people just go to everyday for the salaries? Our objective is to create the platform for people to do productive jobs and that they can innovate and create jobs and that is happening because we are delving more into manufacturing and local fabrications and not just providing basic services.
“In that way, we have the statistics of over 10 per cent growth rate in the number of jobs that we are providing in the industry,â€ he added.
Speaking on the incessant complaints by stakeholders about contract cycles in the sector, Nwapa said contracting cycle was not as short as it should be. He however explained that the NCMB is working with other stakeholders including NNPC and operators to shorten the processes.
â€œMany Nigerians who donâ€™t have the capacity or wherewithal to be in certain jobs will apply. When you see an invitation to tender, everybody just apply as if it is a scholarship and this takes time to go through the process and eliminate people who are not qualified,” he added.