To encourage local content development in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, Femi Ajayi, executive secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), has called on the federal government to compel both local and international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the country to employ Nigerian oil and gas professionals.
Ajayi lamented the situation where after excelling in their studies and having undergone rigorous and world-class training in both local and international institutions, majority of the professionals end up without jobs.
According to him, the federal government should put in place measures that will ensure that both local and international oil companies engage indigenous professionals, especially scholars of the PTDF scholarship scheme.
“The issue is not just competence and capability, there is also the need for political will among the IOCs and the government. We cannot rely on the goodwill of the IOCs when it comes to the issue of employing our people; they have to be compelled to do it,” Ajayi said.
He emphasized the need for all stakeholders in the petroleum industry to contribute their quota towards ensuring that indigenous professionals are gainfully engaged and also that the funds and efforts expended in training these professionals are not futile.
“When we train all these people, give them the research competence and the experience that they have, there is the issue of getting them gainfully engaged locally. There are certain roles that government should play and the role that the private sector needs to play; everyone needs to play their individual roles, because at the end of the day, if we put so much money to train these people, yet it does not lead to domestication of some of these things that we want domesticated, it means we are just spending money, we are not getting the results,” he noted.
Continuing, Ajayi said, “There is no running away from funding, training, research and development. It is not by accident that the most technological advanced countries in the world, they have the best communication systems, they have the most reliable power systems, they have the most efficient transport systems, and it is not by accident. So if you want any of these things, you must fund training, you must fund research and development.”

Johnson Alabi
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