PENGASSAN opposes job losses in oil sector reforms
• Raises team on early passage of PIB
• Why marketers are yet to receive claims, by Kachikwu
THE Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has vowed to resist any attempt at replicating massive job losses in the oil and gas sector.
The President of PENGASSAN, Olabode Johnson, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC), explained that PENGASSAN must be involved in the reforms of the oil and gas sector.
He said: “Whatever government wants to do, the issue of job losses of our members is not acceptable. As labour leaders and union, job security and welfare of our members are very important to us. Apart from these, we insist that we must be carried along in any policy introduced by government that may have negative impact on our members.”
He also called on the convocation of stakeholders in the oil and sector to tackle myriad of challenges confronting the industry.
Johnson highlighted that PENGASSAN has also raised a team to dialogue with key government agencies with a view to speeding the passage of the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
“We are calling on the National Assembly and government to expedite action on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The bill contained solution to issues to such as fiscal regimes, deregulation, refineries and gas supply. We believe that the passage will help resolve most of the challenges we are confronting in the industry today. We urge government to ensure the passage before the end of first quarter of 2016. The union is setting up a committee to liaise with relevant agencies to ensure work resumes on the PIB and also the executive members of PENGASSAN pays a courtesy visit to the leadership of the National Assembly where we will be stressing the need for the passage of the bill and ensure that our fears are also addressed,” he added.
Johnson said the union is averse to importation of petroleum subsidy and will continue to clamour for the routine Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the existing refineries in order to ensure that jobs are retained and valued added process is achieved.
While appealing to government to tackle the fuel queues growing in some parts of the country, PENGASSAN urged government to take all necessary steps to halt the menace including the payment of outstanding importation claims to marketers.
Indeed, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has revealed that the fund approved by President Buhari is yet to be paid to the marketers.
He explined: “The money that was approved for the payment for marketers has not reach them but the President has approved the money. The payment is going through the constitutional process that is required to get it out. The money is an extra-budgetary spending that required the approval of the National Assembly and the President is taking his time to write the Assembly on the need to pay the marketers.
“We know that harm is done to their capacity to import the needed products. We must appreciate the fact that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) does not have the singular capacity to satisfy the domestic consumption of the petroleum products. So, do we want to pay? Yes we want. Have we provided for the money? Yes we have. But we need approval from the outside of the Executive arm of government to implement that, which is of course yes.
I can only appeal to the marketers to be more patient. The President is working very hard at this and I am sure in a matter of week or two, the payment would be effected.”
He assured that the fuel queues emerging in some states would soon be over, saying, “I want to assure the country that there is enough products in the country. We have product both onshore and offshore of about 23 days sufficiency. So, the absence of products is not the issue, what is the issue is the panic buying by Nigerians. Today, the NNPC supplies in excess of 4,000 trucks while all that are needed is about 2,500 trucks daily. Also, there are people who are engaging in hoarding of products.”