The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, and the Presidential Amnesty Programme said they are working on collaborative strategies towards integrating ex-Niger Delta militants into the oil and gas Industry.
The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Ernest Nwapa, stated this at the end of a meeting with the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku.
Mr. Nwapa said the plan was to place the ex-militants, who had completed training in oil and gas service areas, into the Nigerian Oil and Gas Joint Qualification System (NOGIC JQS), a database for talent sourcing in the oil and gas industry.
He said the plan was part of the directive by the Minister of Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the content board’s Governing Council, Diezani Alison-Madueke, for the Board to pursue capacity development and employment initiatives that would support President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda in the oil and gas industry.
He, however, said the major joint venture operating companies, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, lacked the capacity to employ more than 50,000 Nigerians, as they had outsourced most of their operations.
“If the industry could manufacture in-country components used by the industry to execute its projects, it would be able to create thousands of jobs,” he said.
He noted that for nearly five decades, Nigeria failed to establish facilities, own hi-tech asset and manufacture components for the oil and gas industry that can create jobs and retain spend in the country, because they had focused on the exploitation of crude oil and the revenue receipts, while ignoring the value chain.
Mr. Nwapa said that the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act had gradually reversed the trend, as Nigerians have begun to invest heavily in facilities, own hi-tech asset and manufacture components for the industry.
Some of the capacities already developed for the Oil and Gas Industry, he said, were being utilized in other sectors of the economy, like power, telecommunication, construction, and information technology.
Mr. Nwapa said various initiatives of the content board had helped create and retain 38,000 jobs in the industry since 2010, adding that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industrial Park Scheme, NOGIPS, would unlock employment opportunities from the industry as it would elevate local Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs to Original Equipment Manufacturers, OEMs, that produce industry standard high tech equipment for the industry under a shared service and resource optimisation model.
He said the content board was also about to commence an artisan training programme that would produce qualified artisans who would eventually construct its headquarters building in Yenagoa.
Mr. Kuku underscored the significance of his agency’s relationship with the content board, noting that both agencies were developing manpower for Nigerians.
“We are doing a lot of vocational training programme that fall under the ambit of NCDMB,” he said, adding that this has underlined the needed to get advice from the Board on what was available, to enable it tap into the opportunities.
“We want the Board to help us in post training placements. We have seen the opportunities and we must prepare for the jobs that will come through the Nigerian Content implementation,” Mr. Kuku said.
“The Amnesty Office cannot provide jobs for all the trained ex-agitators, who would have to compete with other Nigerians. We have hundreds of our trainees across the best universities in the world.
The best we can give them is free education and when they come back, they will compete with others. With the quality education and training they have got, they will have advantage. But if the jobs are available, we will support them,” he said.
Mr. Kuku added that the programme had produced 100 pilots in a programme with Lufthansa, while those trained in ship building were working to set up a boat yard in 2014.
He challenged state governments across the country, particularly the oil bearing states, to start youth engagement and empowerment schemes to complement the federal government’s amnesty programme for militants.