By Tunde Osho
The organised labour has denounced the Federal Government’s failure to stop abuse of expatriate quota by multinationals.
While speaking at the inauguration of the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) newly built Kwara-Kogi-Niger Branch Union Secretariat in Ilorin, President of NUFBTE, Lateef Oyelekan, said that the government’s failure to act decisively has compounded unemployment in the country.
“Our government should take this issue of expatriate quota abuse seriously and take a decision that will be beneficial to the country just as the government of Ghana has done,” he said.
He noted that the law of the country only allows expatriates on technical ground, but the multinationals, he lamented, no longer respect the law.
According to him, they now bring in expatriates as line managers, accountants, sales and marketing managers, including other jobs that Nigerians are more qualified to do.
“Government should ensure that no expatriate comes in for the jobs that Nigerians can do, especially in marketing and sales. When you make a foreigner a marketing director, what does the person know about our terrain and market?
“Most of our jobs have been taken over by the expatriates and we continue to complain of rising unemployment in the country.”
The NUFBTE President said that days were gone when labour would tolerate Nigerians being made second class citizens in their country.
He cited the aviation sector as an example of what could happen, where recently, workers under the aegis of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) shut down the operations of the Bristow and Caverton Helicopters nationwide, alleging expatriate quota abuse and gross violation of workers’ rights.
Oyelekan said that every effort at creating more employment should be encouraged, adding that the union through its entrepreneurial venture has over 200 employees.
“Our goal is to give all our state branches building of their own and empower them to go into business through that more jobs will be created. This we are doing in our little efforts to support the government,” he said.
He revealed that the new secretariat in Ilorin was first commissioned in 1993, but under his stewardship to steer the union towards self-sustenance with little reliance from the employers, it has gone into several ventures which has helped it complete many of such projects.
Michael Imoudu Labour Institute (MINILS) Director-General, Alhaji Saliu Alabi, who represented the Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige, at the event commended the union for its foresight to remain financially relevant in the face of dwindling check off dues.
The Employee Relations Manager of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Niyi Alabi, equally described the new facility as a national pride, built in spite of the recession. He urged the union to extend the goodwill to other councils.