President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) Festus Osifo has blamed the federal government for rising youth unemployment in Nigeria saying its indiscriminate issuance of work permits to foreigners was denying the Country’s youthful population work opportunities.
Osifo, who said this at the just concluded PENGASSAN Energy and Labour Summit in Abuja, added that the foreigners take up jobs that Nigerians should be doing.
He said the Union was set for a showdown with companies that have the habit of sidelining Nigerians for foreign nationals.
He said: “It is the same government that is saying they want to create jobs, the same government saying they want to do everything possible to ensure that Nigerians are employed. In a country where you have over 33 percent unemployment rate, we give permits to all manner of people to come into this country to do a job that a primary school leaver can do.
“There is a particular company in Nigeria that we will face very soon. If you go to that company, you have more Indians working there than Nigerians as welders. You have Indians as vulcanizers, you have Indians as gatemen, you have Indians as welders. These are skills that we have in Nigeria but who gave them permits to come to Nigeria.
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Osifo who also doubles as the Trade Union Congress (TUC) President also pledged his commitment to promoting the welfare of PENGASSAN members noting that ongoing reforms of the petroleum sector by the federal government did not take into cognizance the welfare of oil and gas workers.
Osifo, who also doubles as the Trade Union Congress (TUC) President said, “Along the discussions, they have focused on the industry; what will happen in the industry; how the industry will transcend; how will the financing be… Nobody has talked about the employees. So in PENGASSAN, we felt that the missing link has been the employees; so let us as an association focus on that area that is missing: that is the area of employees. The skill sets that we need to develop in order to move along the line of energy transition. That is what we have discussed in the last three days.
“And that we have examined; that we have discussed, and we will forward it through communique… We are going to send it to the government. And to God be the glory, it is excellent, it is fine and it is acceptable to all our members and we all accept that it is a good outing.”
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The three-day Energy and Labour Summit had as its theme: Energy Transition and its Effects on the Workforce in the Nigeria Oil and Gas Sector.