The federal government said it has been deliberately implementing gender-friendly policies that will promote women inclusion in the oil and gas industry.
Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, made this known in Lagos at the 2022 Nigerian Women in Oil and Gas Conference organised by the Nigerian Content Consultative Forum (NCCF) Diversity Sectoral Working Group (DSWG).
In line with this, the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB) said it created a new N14.6bn ($40million) fund to accelerate women’s inclusion in the oil and gas sector, the organisation’s chief executive said at a conference in Lagos yesterday.
Executive director, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, while speaking at the ongoing Nigerian Women in Oil and Gas Conference 2022 themed: Leveraging Opportunities for Women in the Oil and Gas Industry, said the Board is partnering with the Nigerian Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank to establish a $40 million women in energy fund.
“This in addition to the $300 million Nigerian Content intervention fund (available to both men and women) which also provides long term single digit interest rate to make funding available with the Bank of Industry (BOI).”
In 2019, the first Women in Oil and Gas Conference took place with the theme: Mainstreaming Women in the Oil and Gas Industry.
The maiden edition discussed issues and actions required to deepen the participation of women in the oil and gas sector and to leverage local content opportunities.
Today, after the pandemic, it returns to build on the success of the previous edition.
Chairman, Board of Directors, NNPC Ltd, Margery Chuba-Okadigbo, said the involvement of women in the oil and gas sector is imperative.
She urged that provision be made for women in strategic positions to breed economic growth in the country.
She said: “there is no better time to promote this forum than now, especially with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Continuing, the minister of state for Petroleum Resources, said women are already involved in the sector.
Timipre Sylva said: “what we are doing here is sensitise and galvanise to get more women involved.
“I can assure you that there are enough provisions in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content (NOGIC) Act and the PIA to encourage the participation of women,” Sylva said.
Meanwhile, the NCDMB said it is dedicated to changing the narrative and providing women with more opportunities, increased participation, and recognition in the oil and gas industry.
He said although women made up 48 per cent of the global work force, they only accounted for 22 per cent of the labour force in the oil and gas sector.
“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.
The minister stated that the industry 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.
According to him, harnessing the natural endowment, strength, intuition, knowledge and expertise of women for the growth of the industry has become a fundamental truth.
He noted that women needed one another to survive the realities of the sector, whether locally or internationally.
The minister said: “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.