18 November 2011, Sweetcrude, Calabar – The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), the umbrella body for junior employees in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, says it has finalised arrangements to build a mega fuel station in each of nation’s 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
It says the plan would be part its contribution to making petroleum products available nationwide at the official pump price.
Comrade Igwe Achese, president of the union, disclosed this in Calabar during the national training workshop for members on ‘Transformational Agenda and Processes in the Oil and Gas Industry: Issues for Trade Union Leaders’ Consideration’.
According to him, this plan for now, was top on the union’s investment agenda.
He revealed that, for a start, NUPENG was into partnership with the Imo State branch of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) to establish mega stations in the LGAs there, and that once that experiment has successfully taken off, it would go nationwide with the project.
The mega stations, according to him, would help create employment for deserving Nigerians besides ensuring sale of products at government’s approved prices, thus bringing to an end disparity in the pump prices of petroleum products across the country.
Achese said under his one-year leadership of NUPENG, the N234 million debt owed Oceanic Bank by NUPENG Ventures Limited has been defrayed with the company back on stream veering into importation and allocation of petroleum products; just as it is working with the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) on petroleum products allocation.
On the state of the nation, the president said the union was not against the deregulation of the downstream oil sector except that it is “against total deregulation of the downstream when refineries are not working optimally”.
He said: “We are against deregulation of the downstream sector when ruptured pipelines have not been replaced with most of the depots across the country without products.
“We call on the Federal Government to tread with caution on the issue of deregulation, as they have between now and the year 2012 to fix the refineries, repairs ruptured pipelines and reactivate the depots across the country”.
On the planned removal of petroleum subsidy by the Federal Government, the NUPENG leader said the union was against it because it would still be import-driven given that the local refineries were not working while new are absent.
He urged the government to reconsider the plan by coming up with new policies that would cushion the effect on the citizens if the policy is implemented finally.
“NUPENG will protest against subsidy withdrawal that would bring hardship to Nigerians. The people are already suffering and should not be subjected to further hardship. Each consumer of petroleum product pays N2.50k for each litre of petroleum product bought, so, not only government pays for subsidy”, Achese stated.
He also asked the government to come out with the correct version of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) so that stakeholders could make their inputs before the National Assembly passes it into law.