EIDPMO to reduce impact of economic downturn

National 1 minute, 38 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO) will take necessary measures to mitigate the impact of the economic slowdown on the local workforce in the oil and gas sector.

Energy Minister Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar said although local companies have had to cut costs and streamline the workforce, the government will strive to ensure job security for locals.

“The situation is tough… Those who have been let go or not had their contracts renewed, we will always try and find them employment at other companies,” he told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of the 12th session of the Legislative Council.

“If we (EIDPMO) had not intervened, we would have seen many more people dismissed (from their jobs).”

He added that EIDPMO will continue to monitor all energy companies’ plans to lay-off local staff. Companies must have “strong and valid reasons” to terminate employees and are required to consult the department first.

For new hires, Bruneians will always be given priority over expatriates.

Since the EIDPMO introduced the ‘Local Business Development’ initiative in 2012, the percentage of Bruneian workers in oil and gas increased from less than 50 per cent to 63 per cent in 2015, said the minister.

In line with government efforts to localise the workforce and increase competency in the industry, some 125 short-term contract workers at Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) have been made permanent staff since 2010.

Over the next five years BSP has also pledged to lower the number of foreign workers by 10 per cent each year. In 2015, they were able to meet this target by reducing 75 expatriates from their overall workforce.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Yasmin explained that staff at BSP will not be retrenched, as the government wants to ensure the long-term welfare of local workers, but that it is crucial for energy companies to remain competitive and cost effective in uncertain economic times.

The Brunei Times