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Expatriate Quota: Reps Give Oil Firms Conditions

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The House of Representatives has directed foreign oil and gas companies to seek Nigeria Content Development Management Board’s approval before applying to the Ministry of Interior for expatriate quota.

The Chairman of the House’s Committee on Local Content, Rep. Emmanuel Ekon gave the directive on Thursday during a stakeholders meeting on expatriate quota for oil and gas companies.

Ekon said that the directive became necessary due to the persistent violation of the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 by the foreign firms.

According to him, many of the multinationals persistently violated the provisions of the Act thereby failing to give full and fair opportunities to Nigerians in their award of contracts and recruitment.

He pointed out that most of the companies had no approval for the expatriates working for them.

“Some of them have expatriates with no requisite qualifications to work in the industry.

“The provision for the first consideration for employment and training is often ignored and many of the companies do not have offices in communities of their operation.

“Also, training programmes for the Nigerian personnel is not adequate and the requirement for succession plan is often ignored,” Ekon said.

He emphasized the need for the Ministry of Interior and the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) to see a copy of the board’s approval before issuing or renewing expatriate quotas.

Contributing, a member of the committee, Rep. Nasir Ahmed said that compliance with the Local Content Act was crucial to addressing militancy in the Niger Delta.

“Non-compliance with the provisions of the Act is mainly responsible for militancy in the Niger Delta. Full compliance with the Act will go a long way in containing the tension in the region,” Ahmed said.

In his remark, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said that there was need for increased sensitization and enforcement of the law.

Kachukwu, however, said that the world had moved from monopolised employee status to global employee status.

“There is need to ensure that the people who are sent to occupy positions are qualified to justify their positions,” he added. (NAN)

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Oil & Energy

Fast-Track Domestic Refining Capacity To End Unstable Petrol Pricing –LCCI

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says accelerated domestic refining and processing of petroleum products would end the unstable petroleum pricing in the country.
Director-General of the Chamber, Dr. Muda Yusuf, made the remark  in an interview with The Tide source in Lagos, at the weekend.
He explained that this action was necessary to prevent both the deregulation policy from being derailed and a return to a subsidy regime fraught with corrupt practices.
Yusuf also called for a competitive market framework to enable the deregulation achieve positive impact, saying that  quick approval of domestic refinery  operations would boost access to petroleum products for economic development
The LCCI DG blamed the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) monopolistic supply structure  for the inability of Nigerians and the economy to benefit from the positives of deregulation.
Yusuf stressed that government needs to urgently put appropriate structures in place to ensure a level playing field and for the deregulation regime to achieve its objectives, because private sector players were strapped for foreign exchange to import petroleum products, while the refineries remained comatose.
“A deregulated pricing regime is typically volatile, oscillating with global oil price. However, deregulation without competition would not give desired outcomes”, Yusuf said.
He regretted that, ”We are still immersed in a monopolistic structure even as we claim to have deregulated the petroleum downstream sector”.
The LCCI DG said that to cushion the effects of petrol price increases on domestic prices, there was also an urgent need to scale up investment in mass transit transportation systems.

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Give Legal Backing To Kpo Fire Refining, IPMAN Boss Urges FG

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Sequel to the new increase in the pump price of petrol in the country, the President of the Independent Petroleum Markers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr Chinedu Okonkwo, has urged the Federal Government to give legal backing to illegal refining otherwise known as ‘kpo fire’.
According to him, the upgrade of the operations of ‘kpo fire’, particularly in the Niger Delta, will boost the availability of fuel in the country and reduce the cost of buying fuel by end users.
Okonkwo who made this known while speaking on a life radio interview in Port Harcourt, last Friday night, explained that since the nation’s refineries are not functioning, there was bound to be an unstable pump price because the market is deregulated and products are being imported.
According to him, if the ‘kpo fire’ refining is upgraded and given a legal backing by the government, and the operators are trained and licensed to operate, there will be fuel availability in the country.
“If there is proper legislation that will enable the illegal refineries upgrade by giving them license and the required training to operate, it will not only make petroleum products available, but it will also create massive employment for the youths.
“We are already making efforts to partner with the Petroleum University in Efurun in Delta State so that training could be given to those operating the ‘kpo fire’ refineries, instead of destroying the environment.
“This would not be done in isolation, but we are still talking with government on how to give adequate legislation and license to these people to enable them do better, rather than pushing them aside, which we, of course, know is difficult to stop.
“We can bring them together, and put them in clusters and they can do better when given the training and license to operate, and you will see that it will bridge the gap, and serve as modular refineries”, he said.
Agreeing with Okonkwo’s position, a senior staff in one of the multinational oil companies, Engr. Chigozie Elendu, said the total dependence on importation of fuel without the local refineries working, in the regime of deregulation, would not be healthy for the country.
He said there was a need to encourage modular refinery and upgrade the ‘kpo fire’ refining, which according to him, has already flooded the market.

 

By: Corlins Walter

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IPMAN Calls For Quick Resolution Of PENGASSAN Strike

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has called for a speedy resolution of the dispute between the Federal Government and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).
The President of IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, who made the call in an interview with newsmen, last Friday, noted that the indefinite strike action by PENGASSAN would have negative effects on the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Okoronkwo described PENGASSAN as an important entity in the value chain of distribution and supply of petroleum products in the country.
He, however, stressed that IPMAN is an association and not a union, adding that IPMAN would continue to render its services to ensure that petroleum products get to the end users.
It would be recalled that PENGASSAN had, last Monday, called out its members to embark on an indefinite strike following the expiration of an earlier seven-day ultimatum given to the government to agree to its demands.
The action followed the long standing disagreement between PENGASSAN and the Federal Government over the latter’s directive on registration of its members on Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System(IPPIS).
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has also urged the Federal Government to take proactive measures towards the quick resolution of contentious issues between it and PENGASSAN.
The Rivers State Vice Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and National Treasurer, NUPENG, Mr. Alex Aqwanwor, told journalists in an interview that the call was necessary so as to avoid NUPENG joining the strike on sympathy ground.
According to him, “We are still consulting at the leadership level to see the next step to take with regards to the ongoing strike action by our sister union”.

 

By: Tonye Nria-Dappa

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