Labour unions threaten strike over planned sale of national assets
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) have threatened to embark on an industrial action should the Federal Government sell any of the national assets.
PENGASSAN described the plan to sell the national assets as a self-destructive move to Nigeria, saying that the plan meant to solve short-term financial obligations is targeted at handing over collective common wealth to a few individuals and further impoverish the country.
The oil workers advised that instead of selling those assets, the government should look for other ways of increasing the revenue base of the country, while plugging loopholes and leakages in government’s finances.It further advised the three tier of government increase spending on capital projects and payment of workers’ salaries to reinflate the economy.
PENGASSAN however cautioned the Federal Government to be wary of such plan as the Association will not sit back and watch national assets, especially those in the oil and gas industry such as NLNG that has become a huge revenue earner for Nigeria, refineries and shares in the upstream oil and gas JV operations to be shared among privileged few Nigerians.
“Any attempt to sell these national assets will be met with stiff resistance from the Association, as PENGASSAN will galvanize every support including that of our sister union and labour centres to shut down this country by ensuring that every activity in the oil and gas sector is brought to a complete halt,” the association said.
Reacting to the recent approval of the sale of the national assets by the NEC comprising of the Federal Executive Council and the state governors, the PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojugbana, said that such sales will further compound the economic and security problems in Nigeria.
The PENGASSAN spokesperson expressed surprise at how anybody can plan to sell the assets, such as the NLNG and shares in the upstream oil and gas JV operations, which have been generating revenue and are still generating revenue for the country to date.
He added: “They should tell us what will happen after the recession if we have sold the assets to greedy individuals. Will the country go cap in hand begging those individuals who bought the assets and borrowing from them?”
He further explained that doing this would further mortgage the future of our great country in the hands of few cabals, noting that these individuals are just looking for advantage to further loot the country through illegal acquisition of the national assets as in the case of various oil blocks held by a few ‘powerful’ Nigerians.
The image maker of PENGASSAN posited that the sale of national assets is not only surprising, but also embarrassing for a nation experiencing economic recession, saying, “the proponents of the sale of national assets are those who have been actively involved in the operations of the nation’s economy in the past. They were part of those responsible for the country’s current economic situation.”
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