The Managing Director of Halliburton Services Nigeria Ltd. Mr. Henry Oki recently confessed to the Senate Committee on Local Content that Halliburton as an organisation remains committed to the laws guiding its operations within the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) as he is one of the beneficiaries of the local content laws.
Responding to questions posed to him by the Senate Chairman of the Committee on local Content Sen. Olamilekan Adeola Solomon and other members who grilled him over alleged acts by Halliburton against the local content laws of Nigeria, Mr. Henry Oki revealed to the Senate that he had taken over as Managing Director from a foreigner Mr. Sanjeev Verma in 2014 to signify that Halliburton is adhering to local content directives even at its highest levels of operations in Nigeria.
According to Mr. Henry Oki who was former Area Manager Operations at Halliburton confirmed that so many changes have occurred in the organisation and have put Nigerians in key positions at the American co-owned company.
In his words, “Halliburton is already 97% nationalized as we speak in which Nigerians are gainfully employed and I am a beneficiary of the Nigerian content quota as over 40% of the expatriates working with us have been knocked off.”
When members of the senate committee queried the MD about the absence of a local content department in his organisation he was quick to confirm to them that he was being joined at this hearing by Mr. Kingsley Ibekwe, the company’s Manager Nigerian Content and Government Relations which shows how serious Halliburton as an organisation takes local content matters.
However the committee still emphasized on the need to have the names of expatriates who currently work for Halliburton, evidence of work permit for the expatriates, details of ongoing contracts being executed by Halliburton since the last one year and names of the Nigerian shareholders.
Most of the Senators were apparently in doubt over some of the presentation the MD made as they insisted that audited account presented to the Senate committee was incomplete, unreadable and was only for 2 years.
Senator Sabi from Niger state raised questions over the ownership status of Halliburton as it was evident that the ownership structure was 70% foreign and 30% Nigerians against the NCDMB rule of 51% Nigerian and 49% foreign.
This apparent lopsidedness against Nigerians attracted huge criticisms from members of the committee as they asked for the names of the Nigerian shareholders in Halliburton, and whether Halliburton Energy Services Company Nigeria could be regarded truly as a Nigerian Company with such ownership structure in place?
Over the 70/30% ownership structure of Halliburton, the Mr. Henry Oki explained that the 70% ownership by foreigners is simply based on assets. “In terms of the shareholding structure 70% belongs to the Parent company while 30% is retained by Nigerians.”
Issues of Salaried and unsalaried staff of Haliburton was also raised by Sen. Sabi especially as it has been the practice by some major players in the oil and gas industry to casualize Nigerian workers in order to meet up with the criteria provided for by the NCDMB for operations within the sector.
When the MD was put on the spot by investigating Senators during the hearing over the status of Nigerians working in his organization, Mr. Oki had to show evidence that Halliburton currently have close to 200 Nigerians working internationally in various senior capacities which is outside other Nigerians working in other various capacities within the country.
In his words, “The local content act has afforded Nigerians like me to take positions of authority in Nigeria following our years of international trainings and exposure. These are the advantages of working for a multi-national corporation like Halliburton.”
MD Halliburton Mr. Henry Oki Appearing Before Senate Local Content Committee