Reps warn oil firms over expatriate quota

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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 (PDP-Akwa Ibom), 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 (APC-Kano), 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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