PENGASSAN wants fuel subsidy beneficiaries prosecuted

7 December 2011, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has urged the Nigerian governmnet to ensure the prosecution of all those who benefitted from the fuel subsidy scheme as revealed recently by the Nationla Assembly.

The union also wants an immediate refund by the beneficiaries of all funds illegally collected by them.

Comrade Babatunde Ogun, president of PENGASSAN, who disclosed this, stated that the union would deploy all the resources it could muster to actualise the prosecution of the affected individuals and companies.

He said: “PENGASSAN demands refund and prosecution of all suspects in the alleged fraud in the importation of refined products to the country. This goes further to confirm the work of the cabal in ensuring that our refineries never worked.

“The same cabal intends taking over the upstream, we will use all the strength as a union to ensure all the stolen wealth is returned to the nation’s purse. They must also be prosecuted.”

Also, PENGASSAN’s National Executive Council (NEC), at a meeting in Warri, Delta State, reiterated its opposition to government’s planned removal of subsidy without adequate infrastructure needed to stimulate growth in the oil and gas sector.

The council listed the conditions to include revamping the existing refineries, granting immediate approval for Greenfield refineries and providing the enabling environment and incentives to encourage private sector participation in the refining business.

The Council, in a communiqué at the end of the meeting, urged government to borrow money or draw from the nation’s foreign reserves to meet these conditions, stressing that savings made from subsidy removal could be used to repay the loan.

“NEC-in-Session notes the huge impact of fuel subsidy on the country’s finances and Government’s current campaign for subsidy removal. NEC-in-Session however reiterates its earlier resolution that certain irreducible minimums must be put in place before implementation of such removal,” the communique read.

It continued: “NEC-in-Session therefore calls on the Government to do the following before subsidy removal: Revamp the existing refineries as earlier promised, Grant immediate approval for Greenfield refineries and provide the enabling environment and incentives to encourage private sector participation in the refining business, Pass the PIB which contains comprehensive provisions for the deregulation of the downstream sector, Improve appreciably our collapsed infrastructure – particularly, power supply, health facilities, educational institutions, roads and railways and drastically reduce the Federal Government’s recurrent expenditure from its current high of about 75 percent to a maximum of 50 percent in order to free funds for needed development”.

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