AKHA Tasks Companies To Employ Indigenes Of Host Communities
The Akwa Ibom House of Assembly (AKHA) has charged various companies operating in the state to employ its host community indigenes both in skilled and unskilled labour to create employment opportunities in the state.
This was contained in a resolution sponsored by the member for Ibesikpo Asutan State Constituency, Elder Aniekan Uko, who sought for the speedy passage of the bill entitled The Need to Consider the Employment of Indigenous Youths by Companies Operating in Akwa Ibom State, on the floor of the House during plenary recently.
Uko expressed concerns over the negligence of some companies operating in the state to engaging indigenous youths of the state on some skilled and unskilled labour.
“The House is aware that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, otherwise known as the Local Content Law, was enacted to promote the participation of Nigerians in the petroleum industry to protect stakeholders in that sector against domination.
Recently, there are growing agitations by indigenes of the state, especially those where construction sites are located in their communities, who have cried out over the decades about marginalization of locals duly employed by companies operating in the state,” he stated.
The lawmaker drew the attention of the House to the immediate-past 6th Assembly who passed into law a bill which sought to ensure that companies doing business in the state hired at least 10 per cent of their skilled workers and 70 per cent of their junior workers from among indigenes of the state and the host communities as well.
Member for Nsit Atai State Constituency, Elder Mark Esset, who spoke in support of the motion said a situation where companies bring in artisans and iron benders from outside to work for them is what causes uprising and agitations by the youth in the state. Member for Oruk Anam State Constituency and House leader, Sir Udo Kierian Akpan, harped on the need for annual reports by companies on how many indigenes they have employed, saying that there was need to engage all companies operating in the state to categorically tell how many of the skilled and unskilled labour they have employed.
The member for Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo State Constituency, Mr Uduak Ududoh, stressed on companies to produce a datebase of people employed by them to be able to take informed decisions and come up with a binding resolution.
The member for Eket State Constituency, Mr David Lawrence, stated that youth restiveness and other social vices were as a result of unemployment, urging the House to spell out penalties to erring companies in the area of fines and withdrawals of certificate of operations.
The member for Ika/Etim Ekpo State Constituency, Mr Mfon Idung, said the bill will help in proper planning as well as creating awareness on the different categories of positions available as declared by the company.
The member for Ibiono Ibom State Constituency, Mr Godwin Ekpo, frowned at how companies operating in the state have refused to employ and patronise indigenes of the state, while his Oron/Udung Uko State Constituency counterpart, Mr Effiong Bassey, said the House should compel the companies to obey the law when passed for the rate of unemployment to be reduced.
The member for Nsit Ubium State Constituency, Mr Otobong Bob, condemned the practice of refusing to employ Akwa Ibom State indigenes by various companies which he said has led to the violation of the Local Content Act, adding that the bill when passed, will ensure that qualified persons are given employment.
Other members who spoke in support of the motion included member for Ikono State Constituency, Mr Asuquo Nana Udo, member for Uyo State Constituency, Mr Anietie Eka and member for Ukanafun State Constituency, Dr Charity Ido.
The speaker, Mr Aniekan Bassey, who stated that the motion rested largely on the sponsor, Uko, resolved that all companies operating in the state should adhere strictly to all extant laws and regulations relating to the employment of indigenes in the state.
He committed the motion to the House Committee on Youth and Sports to liaise with the Ministry of Youth and Sports in partnership with the House Committee on Labour and Productivity to come up with the list of companies operating in the state and verify the extent of compliance in respect to the number of skilled and unskilled labour employed from the state, including their salaries and payment of tax.
The speaker directed the clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to direct the resolution of the House to the appropriate quarters.
Also, the bill for a law to provide for the “Establishment of Akwa Ibom State Debt Management Office,” and a bill to establish the “Akwa Ibom Bureau of Public Procurement and Projects Monitoring for the conduct of public procurement in the state and other matters connected therewith,” sponsored by the member for Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo State Constituency, Mr Uduak Ududoh, were read the first time and were committed to the House Committee on Rules, Business, Ethics and Priviledges for further legislative action.
Also at plenary, a bill for a law to establish the “Akwa Ibom Tourism Acts and Culture Endowment Fund,” sponsored by the member for Ikono State Constituency, Mr Asuquo Nana Udo, passed the second reading and was referred to the House Committee on Commerce, Culture and Tourism chaired by the member for Itu State Constituency, Mr Kufreabasi Edidem, for indepth study and to report back to the House within one month.
The House was adjourned to Tuesday December 3, 2019.