As part of its efforts to make good impact in the ongoing petroleum industry reforms, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has agreed to collaborate with the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board to ensure total compliance by companies operating within the oil and gas industry to the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act.
The union stated this in a paper titled: “Building Synergy with Trade Unions to Optimize Value Creation in the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria: Benefits and Challenges of Implementing NOGICD Act,” and delivered by the PENGASSAN President, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, during a round table discussion organized by NCDMB PENGASSAN branch in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Thursday.
Comrade Ogun, who was represented at the event by the union’s General Secretary, Comrade Bayo Olowoshile, said that PENGASSAN saw the collaboration as a statutory and key obligation, as it will champion and build strong advocacy on matters of interest to its members, labour and the wider society at large.
The union leader said that members of PENGASSAN will act as whistle blowers where there are abuses of expatriate quota or any contravention and circumvention of provisions of the NOGICD Act to guarantee compliance with the Act.
He stated: “Since the main objectives of the Act is to create more jobs in the country while preventing export of jobs to other countries and development of the manufacturing sector of the economy, and the major roles of the union is job security, it is imperative for the two parties to regularly communicate and interface with each other in cases of reported abuse and circumvention of the NOGICD Act provisions, including the application of whistle-blowing mechanism where necessary by the Union.”
Other areas of collaboration identified by the PENGASSAN president included advocacy and support of socio-economic programmes and benefits that foster mutual co-existence among government, company and the host communities; and fostering of industry and corporate policy that fairly recognise and factor labour issues and interest through employment and job security initiatives.
In his opening remark, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engineer Ernest Nwapa, said there is the need for the union to partner with the government and the NCDMB on long term policies that could bring back jobs that had hitherto been exported to Nigeria, which in return will increase the union’s membership.
He said: “The era when unions were agitators is gone but nowadays, unions such as PENGASSAN, are foundation for growth as a result of continuous dialogue in terms of employees relations, among others.
“There is the need to continue in this spirit and for other unions to emulate PENGASSAN because the stability and growth of this country depends on that.
“There is the need for them to support the government’s policies that will not only creates jobs but also ensure job security.”
The PENGASSAN NCDMB Branch Chairman, Comrade Patrick June, who commended the management of NCDMB, said that the collaborations between the two unions in the oil and gas industry and the management of NCDMB underlined the fact that local content issues, particularly in the oil and gas sector, is central and defined in terms of revenue generation and job creation in our national development.
June said: “The board started from a very humble beginning, has been performing their statutory role of regulation effectively.
“Though the challenge of delivering on our mandate is very enormous and requires multifaceted approach, the success cannot be complete without the valuable contributions of industry players, particularly trade unions within the sector.”