LAGOS – Oil workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have implored the Senate to remove from the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the clause restricting importation license to few operators in the country.
They said the development was necessary in order to guarantee level playing ground in the industry
“As we intensify effort to make our refinery work, we should ensure that the PIB does not monopolies the importation of PMS as currently provided in the senate version of the bill. This is to ensure that there is competition in the downstream oil and gas industry.
“Leaving this national security issues to few individuals will shortchange the larger Nigerian populace.
“We should avoid running from one ugly scenario to an uglier situation that is avoidable,” the NUPENGASSAN said in a statement jointly issued by Mr Lumumba Okugbawa (PENGASSAN General Secretary), Mr Festus Osifo, (PENGASSAN President), Mr Olawale Afolabi, (NUPENG General Secretary) and Mr Williams Akporeha (NUPENG National President).
According to the group, inclusion of PENGASSAN and NUPENG on the board of the industry regulators is crucial for the attainment of one of the key objectives of this bill, which is to ensure accountability and transparency in the industry.
“All Civil societies and labour strongly clamored for the inclusion of the two Unions in the sector to be on the board of the regulators for reasons of global best practice currently being practiced in most climes.
“The needs and justifications for this are many and enormous as it will also ensure that the regulators are further strengthened in ensuring that issues bordering on the welfare of workers would have been championed from the cradle of the bill,” the NUPENGASSAN said.
The oil workers’ unions also advocated for a single regulator in the best interest of the industry and the nation at large, saying that it would serve as a one-stop-shop for current and aspiring investors.
According to the statement, the NUPENG and PENGASSAN are hoping that the grey areas, especially monopoly to be granted to few refiners, should be addressed by both houses of the Assembly before the Bill is sent to President Muhammad Buhari for assent.
The oil workers expressed that if the grey areas are not addressed now before the Presidential assent to the Bill, it would hinder the full potential of the bill.
The unions advocated that the PIB should provide sufficient incentives to IOCs and indigenous oil producers to invest in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry. help in driving the much-needed local refining.
The unions expressed disgust over the poor funding of the Petroleum Training institutes and Federal University of Petroleum Resources that are two key institutions that provide manpower to the oil and gas industry.
They posited that operators in the Nigeria oil and gas industry should be mandated to dedicate 10% of their annual training budget to provide training for their personnel in these institutions.
They explained that such promulgation will reduce the funding gap in these citadels of learning and also reduce the pressure on federal appropriation as these institutions depend largely on national budget to survive.
The two unions said their suggestion to the need to ensure that the objective of NNPC Limited should include research and development especially into alternative and renewable energies were not captured in the bill that was passed by the National Assembly.
“As the Conference Committee of the National Assembly meets, we strongly advocate that these issues are taken on board as they would further enhance the bill and ensure it meets the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
“The leadership of NUPENGASSAN wishes to draw the attention of stakeholders to the need for the Unions to be fully represented in the Transition Committee.
“This is to ensure that the issues bordering on workers are effectively taken on board from the onset. This is the only way we could avoid industrial crisis that could arise if all the I’s are not dotted and T’s crossed.
Both Unions will resist with all its arsenals should it be overlooked during the Transition Committee. Our solidarity remains constant for the union makes us strong”
They said such incentives will
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