FG implementing gender-friendly policies in oil, gas – Sylva

0
L-R: Mrs Alero Onosode, Chairperson, Nigerian Content Consultative Forum Diversity Sectoral Working Group, Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Sen. Margery Chuba-Okadigbo, Chairman, Board of Directors, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. and Mr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board at the 2022 Nigerian Women in Oil and Gas Conference in Lagos on Tuesday

By Uthman Salami

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva has said that the Federal Government has been consistently deliberately implementing gender-friendly policies to enhance women inclusion in the oil and gas sector.

The Minister who spoke in Lagos yesterday at the 2022 Nigerian Women in Oil and Gas Conference organised by the Nigerian Content Consultative Forum (NCCF) Diversity Sectoral Working Group (DSWG) themed, “Leveraging Opportunities for Women in the Oil and Gas Industry,” said though women made up of 48 per cent of the global workforce, the gender only accounted for 22 per cent of the labor force in the oil and gas sector.

He said, “However, the Nigerian government has been deliberate in gender-friendly policies.

“This is aimed at increasing access to funding, award of contracts and support for research and development in the interest of women operators in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

“This government, through its Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) – Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) partnership, has rolled out a 40 million dollar fund to empower women in the oil industry.

“This is separate from the 300 million dollar Nigerian Content Initiative (NCI) Fund, which is equally available to women (and men) who meet the criteria,” Sylva said.

Sylva expressed that the oil and gas sector  played a pivotal role in the socio-economic development of the world and would continue to play this key role in spite of the growing call for energy transition.

He maintained that harnessing the natural endowment, strength, intuition, knowledge and expertise of women for the growth of the industry has become a fundamental truth.

The Minister said that women need one another to survive the realities of the sector, whether locally or internationally.

The Minister added, “It is estimated that women occupy about 50 per cent of non-technical positions at entry level compared to only 15 per cent of technical and field role positions.

“Gender diversity and inclusion decreases with seniority. There is only a tiny proportion of women in executive positions.

“The percentage of women in the industry drops over time from 36 per cent to 24 per cent between the middle and executive level, a recent study by Global Energy Talent Index Report has indicated.”

He, therefore, urged the various women groups in the sector to work together in championing the course of women in the industry.

On his part, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, disclosed that the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 had created various opportunities that could be leveraged to increase the participation of women in the oil and gas industry.

He said they included administration of the various Trusts and Funds contained in the Act, opportunities in the National Gas Expansion Programme and the almost completed Industrial Parks in Bayelsa and Cross River.

Also, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd., Sen. Margery Chuba-Okadigbo, added it is very vital for more women to participate in the oil and gas space considering their significant contribution to the economy.

She, therefore, urged the leadership of the NCDMB to consider replicating the board’s Project 100 Companies by creating a model exclusively for women-owned Nigerian companies.

Earlier, Mrs Alero Onosode of the NCCF DSWG said the oil and gas industry was technical, capital intensive and of high risk, adding that women should leverage the opportunities by being always resilient and prepared.