Dangote Petrochemical and Refinery has announced the return of 22 out of 50 Nigerian graduate trainees from Mumbai, India after five months of intensive training at Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited.
Technical Consultant to the President and Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Engineer Babajide Soyode disclosed that the initial stage operations will be handled by workers from India who will oversee the general operations, maintenance and production of the refining plant while a middle-class manpower will be attached to them.
The implication on Nigeria’s labour force
It is not uncommon to see multinationals bring expatriates into the country to do jobs that can be sourced locally. How do you explain a situation where a multi-national brings in an expatriate to drive industrial cranes when we have many Nigerian youths and professionals with such skills?
Most construction sites in Lagos have been overtaken by foreigners while indigenous contractors are left to watch from the sidelines. Projects including road construction, power plant projects, rail projects and even construction of A-3 block classroom are most times handled by Chinese contractors. Most times, youths with employable skills and professionals have had to compete and battle with foreigners for jobs-which are not readily available in the country and often, the foreigners are usually given preference.
The 650,000 capacity Dangote refinery initially brought some Chinese workers to manage the construction and technical running of the refinery which is billed to commence operation next year. The petrochemical industry has once again announced that the refinery will be managed by Indians. Bad news for indigenous professionals, right?
Is it that Nigeria has a shortage of brilliant home-grown professionals with a proven track record who can manage the running of the refinery? Why do we have to bring expatriates into the country when we have home-grown professionals in such field? When will millions of Nigerian youth who roam the street daily searching for jobs find a place to put their skills to use?
Is the Government doing enough?
Unemployment rate in Nigeria has continued to increase with no hope of slowing down soon, figures from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show the unemployment rate increased from 14.2 percent in the fourth quarter 2016 to 16.2 percent in second quarter 2017 and 18.8 percent in the third quarter, 2017. This should be a source of worry to any serious and responsible government.
A regulatory act known as the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act was passed into law in 2010.The Act seeks to build the capacity of indigenous firms and provide more opportunities for participation in business in the oil and gas industry. This is expected to reduce the level of unemployment for youths living in the restive region of the oil-rich Niger-Delta and also across the country.
The rationale behind this policy is to ensure that substantial portion of the activities in the sector is carried out by Nigerian companies and Nigerian workers. All these have been jettisoned by many multinationals, surprisingly, many government agencies are also guilty of this.
The Nigerian Government has set a minimum local content target of 75% for all works and contracts to be undertaken in or on behalf of all oil and gas companies operating in the country but unfortunately, this has not been adhered to by many companies.
The government needs to closely monitor the implementation of this policy to ensure its efficacy towards increasing economic development. The Local content Monitoring Board which is saddled with the responsibility to manage and coordinate the implementation of such action has gone to sleep.
It is heartwarming that the President Buhari has signed an executive order prohibiting visas for some foreign workers whose skills are readily available in the country. This order aimed at improving the local content in public procurement with science, engineering, and technology components.
Speaking of the Executive order, Presidential Spokesman Garba Shehu said
“The executive order prohibits the Ministry of the interior from giving visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria. Consideration shall only be given to a foreign professional where it is certified by the appropriate authority that such expertise is not available in the country.”
The statement also added that the president also directed Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs) to engage indigenous professionals in the planning, design, and execution of National security projects.
Maximizing the local content initiative is not only politically sensible but it makes good business sense. The government must ensure full implementation of this executive order and monitor compliance with the local content policy by private and government agencies.
CBN launches framework for advancing women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria
The CBN in collaboration with EFInA has launched a framework to advance women’s financial inclusion.
The Central Bank of Nigeria on September 29, 2020, virtually launched the framework of advancing women’s financial inclusion. This was disclosed in an online event tagged “Access to Finance Framework for Women” and anchored by Dr Paul Olukpe.
The framework was conceptualized by the Financial Inclusion Special Intervention Working group and developed by the CBN in collaboration with EFInA and Women’s World Banking with input from over 50 stakeholder institutions.
The overarching vision of the framework is for Nigeria to be globally recognized, with an inclusive financial sector that has closed the gender gap by 2024. The framework further itemizes 8 strategic imperatives for driving improved access to finance for women in Nigeria.
In the online event monitored by Nairametrics, the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Ahmad justified the new initiative by citing EFInA’s last report on financial inclusion in 2018 as a yardstick.
Recall that EFInA 2018 Financial Inclusion report indicated gender imbalance and a clear need to attend to the issue of growing female financial exclusion. For example, the report stated that 40.9% of females were financially excluded as against 32.5% of males. Mrs. Ahmad remarked that perhaps, the figures might even be wider if unattended to especially in this period of crisis.
Mrs. Ahmad urged financial institutions to address structural issues limiting women’s access to finance by understanding and developing products that are specifically tailored to address such issues.
Why this matters
Empirical studies have shown that supporting a stronger role or empowering women is a key enabler in reducing poverty, stimulating economic growth and ensuring sustainable development. Citing ‘’The Power Parity Report by McKinsey’’, the Director of development finance department of CBN, Mr Yusuf Philip Yila, stated that the economic consequences of pursuing gender equality include a potential addition of $28trillion to global annual GDP by 2025.
This framework is a big boost to achieving SDG’s goal of gender equality and Nigeria’s financial inclusion targets simultaneously.
HealthPlus crisis: Alta Semper directors reported to Police for trespassing
HealthPlus has made a formal complaint to the Police following its ensuing battle with Alta Semper.
Nigerian Pharmacy Chain, HealthPlus Ltd which is in a battle for control with private equity firm Alta Semper Capital took a new twist as Health plus reported Alta Semper directors to the police last week, as observed in a document seen by Nairametrics.
In a letter sent to the Assistant Inspector General of Police on the 25th of September, HealthPlus stated, “We had the presence of unknown persons around our head office locations.”
The locations stated were 4 HealthPlus branches in Lekki, Lagos.
HealthPlus stated further, “We are aware that there are unauthorized and illegal plans by certain persons to take over our company premises to steal sensitive company property and assets, and ultimately take over operations of the company”
The 4 persons mentioned by HealthPlus are; Zachary Fond and Ivan Genadiev (both Alta Semper Directors), Ernest Eguasa, CFO of company and an unidentified middle-aged white man.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data
Niarametrics reported last week that HealthPlus Limited appointed Chidi Okoro as Chief Transformation Officer.
However, the announcement set off a chain of allegations and counter-accusations, including online media mudslinging with both sides trying to court public sympathy for who is in control of the company.
P&ID dispute: UK Court orders $200 million guarantee to FG
Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Reserves was boosted after a London Court ordered the release of $200Million placed as security in the case against P&ID.
A London Commercial Court has ordered the release of a $200 million guarantee as security to be paid to the Nigerian government in the P&ID $10 billion Arbitral Claim.
This was disclosed in a social media statement by the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday.
Nigeria's Foreign Exchange Reserves was this morning boosted by over $200Million when the London Commercial Court ordered the release of the $200Million guarantee put in place as security in respect of the execution of the much discredited P&ID $10 Billion Arbitral Claim.
— Central Bank of Nigeria (@cenbank) September 29, 2020
Nairametrics reported earlier this month that The Federal Government secured a landmark victory in its bid to overturn a $10 billion arbitration judgment award against it in a case against Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).
The Court said that Nigeria has established a strong prima case that the contract was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria. He said that there is also a strong prima face case that the P&ID’s main witness in the arbitration, Mr Quinn, gave perjured evidence to the tribunal, and that contrary to that evidence, P&ID was not in the position to perform the contract.
In today’s statement, the CBN said, “Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Reserves was this morning boosted by over $200Million when the London Commercial Court ordered the release of the $200Million guarantee put in place as security in respect of the execution of the much discredited P&ID $10 Billion Arbitral Claim.”
“The court also awarded a £70,000 cost in favour of Nigeria in addition to an earlier award of £1.5m.”
On January 31, 2017, an arbitration tribunal had ruled that Nigeria should pay P&ID, the sum of $6.6 billion as damages and breach of contract after a 2010 deal for a gas project in the Niger Delta part of Nigeria collapsed. The pre and post judgement accrued interest of 7% has seen the amount standing against Nigeria, rise to almost $10 billion, an amount that will be a serious dent on the country’s external reserve.