The disparity in salary and allowances between expatriates and local workers in the upstream oil production sector has become worrying and needed some intervention.
Based on this, the Ministry of Energy has welcomed a move by the Petroleum Commission to bridge this huge gap by developing guidelines on salaries and remuneration in the upstream oil industry.
The guidelines are expected to harmonize the pay structure and ensure that workers in the industry are paid equally without discrimination in terms of nationality, gender or geographical location.
The Deputy Minister of Energy, Mohammed Amin Adam commended the Petroleum Commission, PC, for the move to develop the guidelines to better the lives of all workers in the oil industry.
“Since the discovery of oil in commercial quantity and the passage of the legal instrument (LI) in 2013, we have made some strides to deepen our participation on the labour front. Indeed, our upstream regulator, PC, also continues to develop relevant guidelines and protocols for the effective implementation of the regulations.
I’m happy to learn that guidelines on salaries and remuneration in the upstream industry are being developed which will help harmonize the pay structure among workers in the industry. This is a good effort and we look forward to the introduction and implementation of such a policy.”
Meanwhile, data from 337 companies in 2017 indicates that the industry has engaged over 12,000 indigenous Ghanaians, with about 390 and 1000 Ghanaians occupying management and technical positions respectively.
A report on average annual salaries in the global oil and gas industry indicates that Ghanaian workers in that industry are among the least paid in the world today.
The report was jointly compiled by oil and gas recruitment experts, Hays Oil and Gas, and industry researchers, Oil and Gas Job Search.
The report showed that average salaries for locals in Sudan, Vietnam and Ghana were the lowest in the world, compared with what expats in those countries take.
Sudan was the lowest with US$24,100 average annual salary for locals, compared with US$77,000 for expats, which indicate a 219.5 per cent disparity between locals and expats in that country.
Oil and gas companies in Vietnam pay the second lowest salaries to locals. The locals in that country get an average annual salary of US$26,600 compared with a US$142,200 for expat. The difference is a whopping 434.59 per cent.
Meanwhile, Ghanaians in the industry get US$26,800 averagely every year, which compared unfavorably with the US$128,500 that their expat counterparts get every year. This shows a disparity of 379.48 per cent.
Meanwhile, both locals and expats work under similar hazardous conditions on offshore facilities.
The report also shows, in at least four of the 53 countries; Canada, Netherlands, Norway and United Kingdom, locals were paid higher than their expat counterparts.
The highest paid locals are the Norwegians; they get US$179,200 per annum, compared with US$110,400 for expats working in that country. In Canada, locals got 130,000, while the expats got US$119,200. In the UK, locals got US$94,200, and the expats got US$91,800; while in the Netherlands the local got US$111,000 as against US$101,500 for expats while Australia paid the highest salaries to expats; US$164,000 per annum, and India paid the lowest to expats; US$63,700.
The figures also showed that the lowest paid to expats, which was US$63,700 in India, was still higher than the highest paid to Africans, which was the US$63,100 in South Africa.
Meanwhile, in Ghana, local workers on various offshore facilities have been agitating against generally low salaries and pointing accusing fingers at offshore vessel owners and recruitment agencies as shortchanging the locals.
Since the agitations started, a number of recruitment agencies and rig owners have topped up the salaries of locals, while the regulator plans to meet all the industry stakeholders and thrash out the issue of salaries once and for all.
By Adu Koranteng