The Service Level Agreement (SLA) signed by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), is aimed at shortening the protracted contracting cycle in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote made this disclosure while responding to the concerns of oil workers who felt that the new policy would limit the duration of industry contracts of labour service to a maximum of three months as against five years, which it claimed was previously the norm.
The union leaders however sang a different tune after listening to the clarifications made by Wabote, who explained that the SLA between NCDMB and OPTS was aimed at shortening the protracted contracting cycle in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. The process used to take about three years before the award of a major contract would be completed.
The NUPENG officials thereafter pleaded with the NCDMB to examine the nature of employment contracts oil servicing companies foisted on their members. According to them, NUPENG members were often made to accept short term contracts, with unfavorable conditions of service.
Akporeha claimed that oil workers championed the Nigerian Content Bill when it was undergoing legislative processes, hence they expected the NCDMB to extend the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act to key labour issues, like the kinds and provisions of employment contracts which operating and service companies subject Nigerian employees to.
He regretted that most operating companies no longer hire middle and lower cadre personnel on a full time basis, preferring to use casual workers. Such practices, he insisted, were against labour laws and inimical to the interests of the nation and its youths.
Providing insight on the SLA, Wabote explained that the Board signed the first of such agreements with the Nigerian LNG Limited in May 2017 and was jointly developing the third SLA with the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG). He said the SLA with the NLNG greatly improved the speed of interactions between the two organisations, leading to the timeous conclusion of the recent award of a contract by the NLNG to a fully indigenous company, E.A. Temile Development Company for the provision of a new build Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) ship.
The Executive Secretary confirmed that the SLA with OPTS was aimed at accelerating the approval process of the NCDMB's activities on the contracting cycle and enhancing the ease of doing business, which is a key policy thrust of President Muhammadu Buhari's government. "It is meant to shorten the time by removing all unwanted bottlenecks and red tapes in order to conclude Nigerian content reviews and approvals by NCDMB before award of contracts by NNPC-NAPIMS."
In his comments, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Akinlaja Iranola Joseph asked the Board and NUPENG to develop a regular interface for addressing labour issues in the industry. He decried casualization in the industry and charged relevant agencies of government to fight against it.
A member of the House of Representatives Committee and former President of NUPENG, Hon Peter Akpatason also urged the industry to employ junior cadre staff and build their capacities so they can play leading roles in the sector.