The alleged domination of Chinese at the $12billion Dangote Refinery has started generating concerns from experts in the energy and maritime sector as some of them alleged that jobs that should ordinarily be carried out by Nigerians are being handled by the Chinese and Indians.
Managing Director, Mudiame International Limited, Sunny Eromosele told journalists last week that the situation is prevalent because the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) fail to double efforts on developing local content in the country
He said the current skill gap has resulted in the influx of foreigners into the country such that the nation’s current railway projects and the ongoing Dangote Refinery are being handled by over 90 per cent Indians and Chinese.
Eromosele noted that about 90 per cent of the people working on the refinery projects are Chinese and Indians. He decried the idea of personnel certification system run by most International Oil Companies (IOCs), especially Saipem, Chevron, and others.
“We need the harmonization of our personnel’s qualification so that the ideas of personnel certification system by some companies like Saipem, Chevron, and others will be eradicated.“The role of Stakeholders must also be harmonized so that the Nigerian stakeholders will have common goals and role to play on all project executed depending on their areas of specializations,” Eromosele added.
He urged Buhari and the NCDMB being led by Simbi Wabote to channel efforts towards developing a key sector like welding.
In the same vein, the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association has petitioned Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) over what it described as the domination of Chinese seafarers in a refinery project currently going on in Lekki area of Lagos.
The petition dated 18th December 2018, and addressed to the Executive Director of Maritime Labour and Cabotage states: “Our attention has been drawn to the influx of Chinese Seafarers into the Nigeria Maritime industry in contravention of the Cabotage Act, 2003. Information at our disposal reveals that a particular Refinery project at Lekki, Lagos shall be deploying two Anchor Handling Tug Supply, AHTS and lay barge for its use. The vessels will be used for installation of pipelines, Single Bouy Mooring, SBM and etc.
“The Anchor Handling Tug Supply vessel has minimum crew complement of twenty-two each and the lay barge is to carry 200 staff strength onboard. With their back to back, the total workforce would be 500 personnel approximately and the duration of the contract is two years plus.
“All Nigerians onboard the HYSY698 were sacked as we are also informed that the vessel HYSY698 managers said they do not need any Nigerian to work with them. The vessel was detained by NIMASA for failing to comply with the manning requirement of the Cabotage law and was later released after three days which is not acceptable. According to the report, the vessels which would commence operation soon at the worksite will be of no benefit to the indigenes.
“We are informed that the owners and agents of the vessels refuse to work with Nigerians onboard, rather they already have full crew of Chinese Seafarers from the Master of the vessels to the least man onboard.”