Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has provided a detailed explanation of how the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) would create new job opportunities and guarantee job security when eventually passed into law.
Speaking recently at a stakeholders’ dialogue on the PIGB organised in Abuja by the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC) and Media Initiative on Transparency in Extractive Industries (MITEI), Kachikwu said through his Senior Technical Adviser on Upstream and Gas, Mr. Gbite Adeniji, that knotty aspects of labour issues that could come with the transition of the industry to a post PIGB era, have been taken care of in the bill.
He stated that while no worker would be sacked or retrenched in any of the agencies that could be affected by the implementation of the PIGB, they would however be expected to improve their levels of efficiency given that boards of the companies would be given Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to meet in their pursuit of profitability and efficiency.
“Where they are gaps in the manpower in there, it provides an opportunity for people to be appointed from outside. Because again, you (will) want to put in new ideas, fresh legs in the whole process. In that process, you preserve the jobs, and you also attract a pathway for the employment of other skills from outside to help energise the new system you are trying to build. Then you now give power to the management to ensure they operate efficiently and effectively. After that, decisions can then be set correctly as to who would meet up with the requirements for their position,” said Kachikwu.
He further stated: “Once the ball gets rolling, the question would now be if I’m the manager at the helm of the institution, I would want to see who is effective and who is not. That is now the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for the board and for the chief executive of the institution, to make sure he runs an effective institution.
“At that time, it has not nothing to do with the minister, it is up to the management to retain their staff afterwards. You then have to make sure you actually meet up to task as far your job is concerned. That is how we dealt with the issue of labour,” he added.
Kachikwu, buttressed the government’s position on ensuring that no worker in the agencies loses their jobs at the inception of the PIGB regime, stating that: “There are two steps to the labour process, is when you set up the institution and you shift people around and hire them into the institution, at that point, no one is losing any job.”
“The other option is to say, “We do not need you, just go.” We do not want that to happen. After that, with the mandate that each institution would have for efficiency, people there have to work and display their performance in their jobs. But at the inception, the existing jobs would be there. But then people would have to rise up to the occasion, because those boards that would be in those entities would be mandated statutorily to ensure efficiency in the public interest.
“Therefore, from that point on, you do not have a job for life. You now have to be worth that salary, that money you are paid,” he added.