The National Union of Food Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) has tasked employers in the sector to give more preference to qualified Nigerians as against employing expatriates for jobs Nigerians can do.
President of NUFBTE, Comrade Lateef Oyelekan, speaking at the union’s secretariat when the management of Lacasera Company visited, charged companies to protect Nigerianworkers from expatriates taking their jobs.
Oyelekan advised the managing director of Lacasera, Mr. Chinedum Okereke, to support the Federal Government’s agenda on job creation and local content.
Oyelekan, who is also the vice president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated companies to secure Nigerian jobs, ensuring that expatriates are only engaged when no qualified Nigerian can do the available job.
He said the union, in the same vein, has advised the managing director of Lacasera to see the executive position he is holding as not for himself alone but also for Nigerians.
He said, “We said that he should use it to protect the interest of Nigerians because, if you look back, most of his colleagues have erred and disappointed Nigerians.
“Some of his colleagues back then employed expatriates into all the departments, whereas Nigerians are looking for jobs.
“If not for the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari with Presidential Order 5 that says all jobs that Nigerians can conveniently do should not be given to expatriates, we would have been faced with more people roaming about the streets jobless,” he said.
Executive Order 5 is made up of 18 sections covering various headings: Preferences, Accreditation, contract award, Language of contract, capacity development, disqualification from contract award, database of experts in Nigeria, among others.
Oyelekan lamented that the issue of expatriates taking Nigerian jobs has become uncontrollable in the food sector such that even the position of a supervisor is giving to an expatriate.
He, however, noted that the new Lacasera boss has promised to do what it takes to make sure that the interest of Nigerians were safeguarded.
“We have also promised to give him all the necessary support for him to excel and make the company grow and excel.
“We have also mandated our members and officers to give the company all the necessary supports in order for it to turn around for the betterment of Nigeria”, he added.
He further expressed his believe that the government of the day was ready to listen to the union, adding that it was through the agitation of the union on the influx of expatriates that the government reacted.
He likewise lamented the new challenge confronting the workers operating in the private sector as the issue of sophisticated machine and robot.
“Most of the multinationals are coming with robots and modern equipment such that where they ought to engage 200 Nigerians to work, they will employ only five workers,” he said.