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Dangote to recruit Indian expatriates, any hope for indigenous professionals?

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FG’s plan for N350 billion revenue from oil field licensing suffers setback

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

Fikayo has a degree in computer science with economics from Obafemi Awolowo University. ITIL v3 in IT service management. An alumnus of Daystar Leadership Academy. Prior to joining Nairametrics had stinct in Project management, Telecommunications among others. Also training in Consulting and Investment banking from Edubridge Academy. He has very keen interest in Politics, Agri-business, private equity and global economics. He loves travelling and watching football. You can contact him via [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. 9jaRealist

    December 7, 2019 at 1:29 am

    The author should quit being such a XENOPHOBE.

    If there were Nigerians capable of running such a complex refinery as the Dangote Refinery would be, the 4 domestic refineries at Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna would not be in such sad shape (all but effectively comatose). Meanwhile, no rational employer hires foreigners at a much higher cost if there are indigene who could do the same jobs at much lower costs. Sadly, what many Nigerians (raised in a society that elevates concepts such as the so-called “federal character”, “zoning” and “quota system” over meritocracy) in the labor market often lack are suitable skills and experience (albeit the latter can sometimes be a catch-22). No rational investor is going to put billion-dollar investments in the hands of technical neophytes. Good thing that the Dangote Group has taken the notable initiative to train (or re-train, because these skills are sadly sorely lack in most Nigerian “universities”) young Nigerian engineers to participate in the operations of such a technically-complex project. It should be earning the Dangote Group accolades, instead of opprobrium from delusionally-entitled NIGERIAN xenophobes.

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Business

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.

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CBN, Aishah Ahmad,

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.

(READ MORE: Banks’ loans to private sector increase by N3.50 trillion in one year – CBN)

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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

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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.

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Business

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.

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HealthPlus crisis: Alta Semper directors reported to Police for trespassing

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.”

READ: FG apologizes, says Self-Certification directive is not for everyone

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”

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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.

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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.

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Economy & Politics

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.

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P&ID dispute: UK Court orders $200 million guarantee to FG, Leaked letter by Poultry Farmers Association triggered CBN emergency approval to import maize, nImplications of CBN's latest devaluation and FX unification, current account deficit, IMF, COVID-19, CBN OMO ban could give stocks a much-needed boost , CBN’s N132.56 billion T-bills auction records oversubscription by 327% , Nigeria pays $1.09 billion to service external debt in 9 months , Implications of the new CBN stance on treasury bill sale to individuals, Digital technology and blockchain altering conventional banking models - Emefiele  , Increasing food prices might erase chances of CBN cutting interest rate   , Customer complaint against excess/unauthorized charges hits 1, 612 - CBN , CBN moves to reduce cassava derivatives import worth $600 million  , Invest in infrastructural development - CBN Governor admonishes investors , Credit to government declines, as Credit to private sector hits N25.8 trillion, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms , Why you should be worried about the latest drop in external reserves, CBN, Alert: CBN issues N847.4 billion treasury bills for Q1 2020 , PMI: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector gains momentum in November, CBN warns high foreign credits could collapse Nigeria’s economy, predicts high poverty, MPC Member, BVN, Fitch, Foreign excchange (Forex), Overnight rates crash after CBN’s N1.4 trillion deduction, Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.57 billion; Emefiele keeps his word on defending the naira, CBN to support maize farmers, projects 12.5 million metric tons in 18 months, BREAKING: CBN Upscales Greenwich Trust Limited, grants it's operational license for merchant banking

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.

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).

READ: Nigeria seeks bank documents of former President, others over $9.6 billion P&ID case

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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.”

READ; Why the NNPC is being dragged to US courts by Exxon Mobil, Shell

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“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.

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