PENGASSAN charges FG on employment, alleged expatriate quota abuse

president of PENGASSAN, Francis Johnson

president of PENGASSAN, Francis Johnson

THE Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has urged the Federal Government to put in place ‘sustainable plans’ for job and wealth creation.

In a communique issued at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, PENGASSAN challenged the Federal Government to diversify the economy by resuscitating the Agricultural, Tourism and Manufacturing sectors for job creation purposes.

According to PENGASSAN, there is need for the establishment of a Special Stakeholders’ Committee comprising Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Labour and Employment, and labour unions to recommend and approve expatriate work permit to check abuse by employers.

The NEC-in-Session also called on the Government to exert ‘appropriate sanctions’ against defaulting employers.

The communique decried the level of decay in infrastructural facilities, especially the poor state of roads across the country and called on the various levels of Government to embark on urgent repair of roads that fall within their constitutional responsibilities.

The communique also commended the provision of bailout funds to States by the Federal Government but condemns the diversion of such funds for purposes other than what it was granted for.

Signed by its President, Francis Olabode Johnson and Acting General Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, PENGASSAN frowned at employers of labour who are in the habit of owing workers’ salaries.

PENGASSAN called on the National Assembly to put in place legislative instruments to check the “ugly trend of delay in payment of workers’ salaries by employers of labour”.

Part of the communique read: “The NEC-in-Session notes the unimaginable negative impacts and colossal loss of national revenue owing to crude oil theft and incessant acts of pipeline vandalism caused the industry and the nation as a whole.

“In view of this, the NEC-in-Session calls on the Government to evolve multi-faceted measures, such as review of pipeline installation techniques, regular surveillance by core experts to evaluate pipeline integrity and proffer solution, well-coordinated security network, strict enforcement of pipeline right of way, and review of enabling legal instruments for sanctioning violators/defaulters.

“The NEC-in-Session demands that troubled pipeline spots be cleared of obstructions and the establishment of a security Agency network for effective monitoring of the pipelines as well as locating the specialized Agency’s office in the troubled spots”.

On Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), PENGASSAN urged the Executive and Legislative arms of Government to work together to give priority to the passage of the PIB given its importance to the Nation’s oil and gas industry.

It demanded for an all-inclusive industry Stakeholders’ Summit to ensure that various stakeholders’ inputs are represented in the Bill to protect National and industry’s interests and ensure quick passage of the Bill without further delay, adding that the NEC-in-Session sets up a committee to re-examine the Association’s positions in the PIB to ensure that the interest of workers in the industry are also protected”.

On job security/flunctuating crude oil price, the NEC called on the Government to stem the wave of redundancies in the oil and gas industry, especially by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and “therefore demands that the NAPIMS should put in place a clear policy statement to address this unfortunate trend”.

It added: “The NEC-in-Session resolves to resist the growing redundancy tendencies in the industry under the guise of fallen crude oil price. The NEC-in-Session further resolves that any management without express involvement of the National Secretariat shall undertake no process of redundancy.

“Consequently, the NEC-in-Session resolved that any decision taken by any company’s management on redundancy without engaging the National Secretariat of the Association shall be of no effect and shall be resisted.

On the Gas Master plan implementation, PENGASSAN called on the Federal Government to demonstrate political will to implement and harness the huge quantity of gas being flared to develop the Power Sector and domestic utilization and reduce environmental degradation.

It commended efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration and the NNPC Group Managing Director (now Minister of State for Petroleum Resources) in putting back the refineries on stream to boost local refining capacity.

It called on the Government to deal with the issue of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism that has been affecting crude oil supply to the refineries and crippling effectiveness and efficiency of the refineries.

The communique urged the Government to strictly adhere to regular Turn- Around-Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries, and also desist from unduly interfering with the running of the Refineries.

Making reference to perennial fuel queues/payment of fuel subsidy, PENGASSAN called on the Federal Government to put in place a ‘systematic process’ at thinning out importation of petroleum products and an aggressive strategy at improving local refining.

The union advised that deliberate steps at addressing the issues of supply and distribution of petroleum products should be taken before contemplating full deregulation of the sector.

According to the Association, Government should empower and strengthen the regulatory agencies, particularly the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to enthrone standards and business ethics in the subsidy regime.

It urged the Federal Government to immediately constitute Governing Boards of Parastatals and MDAs under the Petroleum Resources Ministry to strengthen the Agencies and ensure their independence in the discharge of their statutory mandates.

On casualisation, contract staffing and decent work agenda, PENGASSAN called on the Government to be practical in implementation of the Guidelines on Contract and Casual Staffing in the oil and gas industry to ensure that managements treat all employees equally.

It further resolved to frontally engage defaulting employers, adding that NEC-in-Session frowns at the length of time it takes the National Industrial Court (NIC) to dispense justice. “This results in wearing and frustrating the workers, who may not have the wherewithal for the delayed justice as against company managements who are often at an advantage with lots of resources and time to pursue such issues at NIC.

“The NEC-in-Session therefore demands speedy trial or dispensation of justice on industrial and labour issues at the NIC.

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