Minister raises the bar as EDPMO helps locals get 1,300 jobs in 2012
Bandar Seri Begawan - As the first Oil and Gas Service Sector Job Fair in December 2011 has proven to be a runaway success, given that the Energy Department at the Prime Minister's Office (EDPMO) has surpassed the 1,000 new jobs target in 2012 by employing more than 1,300 with more than two months to go, the bar has been raised.
With Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) Sdn Bhd alone that has earmarked $2.7 billion in capital expenditure in 2013, the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Seta (Dr) Awang Haji Mohd Yasmin bin Haji Umar, sees a better opportunity for the employment of locals in the oil and gas sector in 2013.
The minister is confident of achieving a target of 1,600 new jobs next year. He said this at the opening ceremony of the Job Fair, held at Bridex Exhibition Hall in Jerudong yesterday.
"Indeed, surpassing the target of 1,000 jobs for the whole of 2012 is not by any standard a small achievement, bearing in mind that we still have two and a half months-to go before the end of the year. I am confident that we will again improve on this number, Insha Allah," said the minister.
According to him the first Job Fair marked the beginning of a major push of such efforts by the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam through the Energy Department towards ensuring more locals are employed by the industry.
With the objective of the Job Fair in mind, that is .to expose as much as possible job opportunities available out there in the local oil and gas industry, the minister said that the EDPMO wanted them to show and prove that the industry has the ability to provide jobs for the locals, and these locals if given the right chance can rise up to the challenge of filling up these jobs.
"On this, we are indebted to His Majesty, who through his advices and guidance encourages us to be more proactive in terms of job creation for the citizens and permanent residents of Brunei Darussalam," said the Minister.
The Minister revealed that the new recruits so far consist of 53 Master degrees holders, 111 first-degree holders and another 107 with Higher National Diplomas. The rest numbering 1,031 are those with PMB, 'O'-Levels, 'A-Levels, OND, technical certificates and other qualifications.
The numbers are based on feedback given by 47 out of the 70 oil and gas companies that participated during the last Job Fair. The minister has urged the other 23 companies to work with the EDPMO as they are having some difficulty for whatever reasons.
Currently, there are 270 companies with links to the oil and gas industry registered with EDPMO. These companies are required to submit certain information to the EDPMO on a regular basis including the number of locals being employed.
"These are very important information that allows us to keep track of the progress of Local Business Development (LBD) in the country. LBD itself is one of our top agendas. For those participating or intending to participate in tenders with the Brunei-Shell Joint Venture companies - allow me to remind that compliance with the LBD's Directives including those on submission of information is a drop-dead criteria.
"If a company failed to show that it is fully in compliance with the directives, its submission would not be processed further," said the minister.
He said that achieving the target has a significant meaning to the EDPMO, as "it shows the industry is able to absorb more locals; locals are either not as choosy as was first thought or if they were, they are no longer so; and there is a positive shift on the views toward locals as employees. It also means there is a very strong support from the players within the industry themselves including most of you, who are here today":
"Having achieved the target is one thing. Are these people being engaged in what I termed as 'real employment'? Real employment means real jobs, one that enables the employee to provide, at least for himself or herself, a reasonable quality of life. We don't want to see a person being employed for just three months and after that he is back in the job market again.
"That is why I have taken a lot of my time to visit the companies and to see for myself the reality of the employment situation in each and every one of the companies. I pledged to myself that I would visit more than 100 companies by the end of this year," explained the minister.
Through these visits, the minister said, he was able to see for himself the employment status as it is and in turn provide opportunities for both employers and employees alike to tell the EDPMO how things are at ground level.
"I am also encouraging my senior officers including the Permanent Secretaries to do the same, to meet with you and your employees. We need factual information and a feel of what is really going on, in order to consider and prepare additional Local Business Development initiatives, if and when required. I do not want to see beautiful facts and figures being provided in glossy brochures by the companies on employment and other local contents, when in reality these are far from being true," added the minister.
"Undeniably, there would be some who would claim that the number was achieved by the Energy Department, by imposing conditions that require those vying for contracts with the government-linked oil and gas companies to adhere to the LBD Directives and to satisfy the guidelines on local employment. Indeed, this is the reality and must be done as a wake-up call. However, these are not unfair demands. Some of the companies are reaping benefits and substantial profits from the activities of the local oil and gas operators; it is time for them to contribute to the local communities in return, by employing our local jobseekers.
"This year, BSP alone has spent around B$2.3 billion in capital expenditure amongst others, executed Danau-Bubut, Champion-7 New Living Quarters (CP-7NQ), Bulan-Bulan & Osprey fabrications and Brownfield rejuvenations as part of its major projects. For the financial year 2013, BSP will spend as its capital expenditure around B$2.7 billion, on drilling new development and exploration wells including near field exploration (NFE) and onshore, resulting in an increase in the number of rigs, fabrications and offshore installations. That's just BSP, we have not included companies such as TOTAL, Brunei Methanol, PetroleumBRUNEI, PETRONAS and so on," elaborated the minister.
"I do hope that companies such as TOTAL, PETRONAS and BMC would be more transparent on their projected expenditure and the key projects that they would be carrying out. PetroleumBRUNEI as the current regulator for these companies must obtain and report back to the Energy Department of the Prime Minister's Office on their LBD components. I am also sure our local contractors and vendors would love to know about them, so they can plan well ahead and have a chance to participate in the various projects".
Brunei Gas Carriers Sdn Bhd (BGC) was mentioned as an excellent example by the minister, where Bruneians are able to demonstrate that they are up to the challenge of working onboard sea-going vessels, with over 270 local officers and crews.
The Oil and Gas Service Sector Job Fair 2012 will be open to members of the public until October 13, from 2pm to 8pm Monday to Thursday, and from 9am-11.30am and 2pm-8pm on Friday, and from 9am to 8pm on Saturday.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin