Nigeria to check abuse of expatriate quota in oil industry

Jul 27, 2004 02:00 AM

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) are to work out ways of effective policing and implementation of the "under-study" clause in the expatriate quota approval to check the growing cases abuses in the nation's oil and gas industry.
This was part of a 19-point communique reached by a stakeholders meeting involving government, oil companies and labour held to avert a planned nationwide by oil workers in the country.

Under the umbrella of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), who were protesting continued neglect of the nation's refineries by government and other myriad of problems of the petroleum industry, have however, suspended the planned strike following agreement reached at the meeting.
According to the communique: "The stakeholders noted the existence of abuse of expatriate quota process in the industry to the disadvantage of the unemployed Nigerians. It therefore, resolved that the Ministry of Internal Affairs is to look into how it would strengthen its mechanism in conjunction with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for effective policing and inward implementation of the "under-study" clause in expatriate quota approvals".

On the issue of casualisation, the communique said: "The meeting noted that progress is being made at convening contractors' fora at different company levels. For standard to be put in place and check sharp practices by some labour contractors, principal companies are to monitor their contractors towards a more effective compliance with the national labour standards which are in consonance with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) core conventions.”
“Also, the management of the oil marketing companies are expected to conclude the issue of de-casualisation as discussed with the unions in the first quarters of this year. It was also resolved that the recruiters license and employers permit drafted by the federal ministry of labour and productivity be reviewed by the key social partners soonest, for a more effective application in the oil and gas industry".

The communique said the stakeholders were informed of the provisions of the Oil and Gas Implementation Committee (OGIC) in the Draft oil and Gas policy to grant the DPR the autonomy and proper funding for effective performance of its statutory functions.
"The Draft Bill to give effect to this positive objective for DPR, as the Petroleum Inspectorate Commission is till in process and would require additional time to be finalised. The stakeholders find the report acceptable and commendable and requested for action to be expedited".

In the case of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) communique noted that they commended Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) for the progress made in respect of social dialogue which would attain the positive objectives intended in the "Save Our Future" initiative and requested Shell to facilitate the implementation of the agreement between the contract staff and contract forum.
For Elf, the stakeholders noted that further dialogue by both the union and management of Elf Petroleum Nigeria should commence immediately in order to resolve all disputes, while in the case of Chevron, both PENGASSAN and the Management of Chevron have resolved that the only member of PENGASSAN seeking severance will be given the deserved exit from the company at the shortest time-frame possible. Also, the machinery for discussing the issue of contract staff will be put in place and discussions to commence thereafter.

On the disputes with Mobil Producing, the stakeholders noted the on-going negotiations between the management and PENGASSAN and advised that both parties should work toward a win-win outcome as soon as possible.
"The management of Mobil Producing Unlimited was requested to facilitate the implementation of the agreement between the contractors' forum and contract staff".
On other issues, the communique noted: "The issue of pension has been addressed by the National Pensions Commission. Employers and the unions are encouraged to use collective bargaining in the implementation process of the pension act. Decision on what happens to previous provident schemes shall be taken at the level of each company in concert with the national pensions commission".

"The stakeholders observed that the visit of the committee to the four refineries confirmed the stages of the on-going rehabilitation of the plants. Efforts at repairing the vandalized Escravos pipeline that supplies crude to both Warri and Kaduna refineries should be intensified for any meaningful progress to be achieved. Henceforth, the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) for the refineries should be carried out as at when due. Government should address the concerns of the Niger-Delta communities, secure the pipelines, lives and properties of people in the region.”
“It was reaffirmed that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) should hold regular meetings with PENGASSAN and NUPENG and carry the unions along on labour related issues in the privatisation of the refineries".

On the oil windfall, "the stakeholders accepted that a framework for sharing and accessing such excess funds from crude sale be determined in order to forestall instability at the macroeconomic level. It was resolved that a smaller body be formed with members drawn from the relevant stakeholders. The goal of this body is to liaise regularly with the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) in its role to promote self-sufficiency in the supply, marketing, refining and distribution of petroleum products along with cost recovery.”
“The body is to make recommendations to PPPRA at each point in time on factors that would mitigate the negative social impact that may arise from rising prices of petroleum products. The stakeholders noted that major oil marketers are yet to make meaningful impact in the importation of petroleum products".

It added: "The meeting resolved that another follow-up visit to the refineries be conducted key stakeholders to include the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Ministry Petroleum Resources and PPPRA in three months time to determine the progress work done at the refineries".

Source: Vanguard
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