By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
A group of concerned stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas industry have raised an alarm that paucity of jobs for indigenous contractors in country’s oil and gas industry responsible for unemployment and greatly affecting the economy, with a potential to subvert all the hard work of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration on the economic development of the country.
Speaking at an interactive forum with some newsmen on Sunday in Abuja, spokespersons of the group, Engr. Zaharadeen Ahmed and Mr Kingsley Okoro, stated that a lot of the oil multinationals like Shell, Chevron and Halliburton have placed a lot of their projects on hold for undisclosed reasons.
They deplored the drought in Engineering, Ptocurement, Construction and onshore Commissioning (EPC) contracts which are key areas for indigenous/local contractors in the sector.
“New contracts for Tank Fabrication, Pipeline laying and other locally executed contracts which formed the nucleus of the local economy had not been negotiated or awarded for a while while the once previously awarded but not concluded had been placed on hold.”
They further disclosed that local contractors have been unable to meet their financial and other commitments thereby leading to massive staff layoff in the sector which is frustrating the development of the oil and gas sector of the economy and the oil-producing areas.
They appealed for the IOCs to create partnerships with local contractors to develop programmes for indigenous contractors to train and keep engage the oil and gas workforce of the country, especially at times of reduced contracts in the sector.
According to them, stop-start contracts a situation like we have now will keep the contractors uncompetitive, thus hindering them from reaching their full potential.
“However with a planned contracts management system without interruptions contractors would be able to have a more sustainable investment model and we can be more competitive and economical in our market,” they said.