•Challenges incoming lawmakers on PIB
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to separate the Ministry of Petroleum Resources from the Presidency to make it efficient.
It urged the incoming federal lawmakers to ensure that they pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as soon as possible.
PENGASSAN President Francis Olabode spoke after the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Lagos.
Briefing reporters, he said Buhari should ensure that the Petroleum Ministry was separated in his second term.
“The office of the President is too big to add Petroleum Ministry to it. There are a lot of things to be done to make Nigeria independent in refining our products rather than relying on imports,” he said.
On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Olabode lamented that it had suffered delays over the years.
He said: “This bill, which started as the Oil and Gas Sector Reform Implementation Committee report, has been on for 18 years since April 2000. It has gone through various stages with the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill at the forefront.
“We call on the government (both the executive and legislative arms) to ensure that this bill is passed as soon as they settle down in order to have investors’ confidence in our industry.”
He said the bill was being stalled by multinationals who believe that it would unfavourable to them.
Olabode expressed concern over casualisation, contract staffing and outsourcing in the oil and gas industry, saying: “We will continue to engage various stakeholders in ensuring that this menace is adequately resolved in the larger interest of our members
He stated that to cut cost, most companies, especially the indigenous ones, had resorted to underhand tactics in labour-management relations.
“Some of these include prevention of members from unionising, disrespect for signed collective bargaining agreements and intimidation and victimisation of labour union and members,” he said.
He however commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in ensuring adequate supply of the Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).
He said: “We call on the government to intensify efforts at increasing local refining and remove all encumbrances to the full rehabilitation of all the refineries.
Olabode commended the Federal Government in it fight against corruption, adding that it should cover all sectors.
His word: “We believe that the fight against corruption should not be allowed to shrink but rather sustained to cover all sectors and maintain the gains under this dispensation.
“We advise that reports of probes instituted by the two chambers of the National Assembly and other agencies of government should not be shoved aside but dusted, and those indicted prosecuted.
“The government should make all effort to see that all recovered looted funds should be accounted for and re-invested into the economy to reduce unemployment.”
Olabode called on the government to optimise productivity and economic growth.
“I want to assure you that all industrial issues with utmost seriousness that the elections are over and all recalcitrant companies who think they are above Nigerian laws should brace up for a rude awakening, as the association will explore all possible means to ensure no organisation undermines any provisions of the country’s laws,” he said.