Bill to compel companies to hire ‘indigenes’ passed by Akwa Ibom Assembly

Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr Onofiok Luke
Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr Onofiok Luke

The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has passed a bill which will ensure that companies doing business in the state hire at least 10 per cent of their senior workers and 70 per cent of junior workers from among the indigenes of the state.

The bill requires the governor’s assent for it to become law.

Companies that will be affected are those that have at least 20 employees and more.

“Where the quota for youths/indigenes of the state is not filled on account of non-availability of qualified indigenes of the state, the company shall ensure that a reasonable effort is made within two years to supply such training locally or elsewhere to the indigenes of the state, in a joint venture with the commissioner so that after the training, the beneficiaries could be absorbed by the said company,” says the bill which was passed on Thursday.

It was sponsored by Victor Udofia, member representing Ikono State Constituency, and seven others.

The bill, when signed into law, will empower the state government to carry out personnel audit in private firms to ensure compliance.

It prescribes fines for non-compliance.

It also states that compliance shall be a major criterion for contract award and issuance of license and permit by the state government.

Akwa Ibom is home to Mobil Producing Nigeria, a subsidiary of the American oil giant, ExxonMobil, as well as several oil-related companies doing businesses in the state.

Besides, many construction companies have moved into the state in the past 10 years because of massive road construction and urban renewal projects of the state government.

The Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, said during the plenary that the law reflects the 6th assembly’s commitment to Governor Udom Emmanuel’s job creation ambition.

Mr Luke said that the increasing young population in the state makes it imperative that government takes more definitive steps towards the integration of the youth in the economy.

“Government needs to create avenues first, for the employability of young people through good education and skills impartation,” the speaker said.

“Secondly, the public and private sector must architect ways to support entrepreneurship; and lastly, jobs must be created and job market place must be regulated in such a way that they amply accommodate the youth.

“The law will promote a culture of local ownership and participation in all aspects of the state’s productive economic activities.

“Let me restate for the benefit of our constituents that when signed by the Governor, His Excellency Mr Udom Emmanuel, this law will position our youth and women to be firsthand beneficiaries of existing and prospective job opportunities in our state.

“It will integrate our youth and women adequately into domestic market and prepare them for foreign opportunities through training in technologies and managerial skills. The law will promote peace and a sense of local ownership while ultimately discouraging youth restiveness especially those often emanating from host communities,” the speaker said.

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