Divers blame Ministry of Labour for unregulated practices, foreign dominance

Nigerian divers have blamed the stagnation of the sector on unregulated practices and increased foreign dominance fuelled by the failure of the Ministry of Labour and Employment to establish a Diving Advisory Board in line with the nation’s 2018 Diving at Work Regulations. Mr Julius Ugwala, Nigeria’s Chief Diving Inspector (Elect) stated this recently while speaking with newsmen.

According to Ugwala, in order to harness the potentials in the sector, the nation would have to inaugurate an Advisory Board as stipulated by exiting regulations to oversee the activities of diving including safety, education, remuneration and local content development.

The diving expert lamented that despite Nigeria’s 853km long coastline that runs through several states and the numerous maritime activities requiring services of professional divers, the federal government is yet to see the enormous potentials in the sector.

“The government isn’t aware of the viability of the diving sector and how much it could contribute in terms of revenue for government and job opportunities for the teeming youths in the country. I think the practitioners in the country should take up the onus of convincing the government about the need to regulate the profession.

“Setting up the Advisory board would see the diving sector become a duly regulated one in Nigeria. It would also lead to an influx of people into the profession. People will be more willing to pick a career in diving and experts would no longer have to travel out of the country to be trained,” Ugwala stated.

The Chief Diving Inspector, Elect disclosed that the diving sector has capacity to put an end to youth restiveness across Nigeria by catering for over 10 percent of the nation’s unemployment margin.

He also decried the high mortality rate of divers in the nation, noting that unsafe practices have become the norm following the absence of a regulator.

On safety procedures, Ugwala added that, “Nigeria isn’t conducting diving safely. On a scale of 100 percent, I would score Nigeria 30 percent. The reason is that, today we have multinationals in the country who carry out diving operations without regulation. Nigeria needs to have a system to carry out an oversight on these multinationals.”

Ugwala also frowned at the dominance of foreigners in the nation’s diving sector, arguing that the country was outsourcing the much-needed jobs to expatriates despite having citizens who can carry out those duties.

 

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