Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
Federal government yesterday warned against the abuse of expatriate quota in the oil and gas industry, threatening that henceforth any business concern that flouts the rules would be sanctioned.
In a press statement, the government said that it had come to its attention that that manpower supply companies and contractors that had been issued Statutory Oil and Gas Industry Service Permits (SOGISP) to engage only Nigerian professionals had started giving the permits to foreigners.
The statement was jointly signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Ms. Georgina Ehuriah; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Wabote and the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr. Sarki Auwalu.
According to the government, the permits clearly indicate that they are not to be used to deploy expatriates under any circumstance or guise.
Describing it as disturbing, the federal government said that operators and major service providers now promote the illegal practice by entering into contract agreements with supply companies to source expatriates for positions, which in several cases had been denied quota and earmarked to be occupied by Nigerians.
It said the practice clearly circumvents laid down statutory approval processes and compliance requirements for obtaining expatriate quota positions.
“Stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas industry are therefore to note the following:Companies (operators, service providers) engaging manpower suppliers with permits for supply of ‘Nigerian Professionals Only’ are to ensure that no expatriates are deployed under such manpower supply contracts under any guise.
“Companies seeking to engage expatriates in the Nigerian oil and gas industry must ensure that they obtain the relevant approvals from NCDMB before applying for expatriate quota or other entry permits from ministry of interior, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) or other agencies of government.
“Companies deploying expatriates in the Nigerian oil and gas industry are to ensure full compliance with the guidelines and requirements of the ministry of interior and NCDMB, including registration on the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Joint Qualification System (NOGICJQS) as well as biometrics enrolment of all expatriate personnel in their employment,” it said.
The government said that it will intensify its monitoring and evaluation activities to identify companies violating the statutory provisions of the DPR manpower supply permits and perpetuating illegal expatriate deployments with a view to invoking appropriate sanctions and penalties.
It added that the sanctions are specified in the Immigration Act, 2015 and Immigration Regulation, 2017 as well as the NOGID Act.
“Companies in the oil and gas sector intending to apply for expatriate quota positions, should submit and process their applications to the board by registering and applying on the NOGICJQS portals,” it added.