Oil workers vow to resist sale of refineries

nupeng26 November 2013, Lagos – Oil workers, under the auspices of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have vowed to resist the federal government’s plan to privatise Nigeria’s four refineries.

According to them, the proposed sale of the refineries, located in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt, is against the overall national interest and is only in the interest of “a few Nigerians who are lurking around the corridor of power to milk the country dry.”

Speaking against the backdrop of the plan by the federal government to privatise the four refineries by 2014, PENGASSAN President, Mr. Babatunde Ogun, berated the government for its decision to sell the nation’s assets without considering available options and rational rule for such a lucrative business deal.

Ogun, in a statement on the oil workers’ position on the planned sale of the refineries, alleged that the government advertently underfunded the refineries and deliberately refused to carry out routine Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) and failed to supply adequate crude oil to the refineries to have reasons for selling them to those in the corridor of power.

He said instead of outright sale of the refineries, the federal government should adopt the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) model in making the refineries more efficient.

Under the model, the National Oil Company (NOC) will emerge owners of the four refineries, holding a substantial minority share, while core investors and local participants will hold the majority while the staff, trade unions and the host communities hold minority shares.

Ogun said the refineries should be stand-alone entities independent of either the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) or the proposed National Oil Company (NOC) as contained in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), while the board of management of each refining company should be fully responsible for its success and failure.

He advised those planning to sell the refineries and their cronies planning to buy them to emulate Chairman, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and establish their own refineries instead of waiting to corner the nation’s common investment for their own selfish interest
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is to roll out regulations to ensure that it sanctions any entity that falls short of remitting monies due to the government from its operations.

NEITI made the disclosure yesterday shortly after it had a meeting with delegates from the Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI) that came to exchange ideas and experiences with it in their pursuit for improved implementation of the principles of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in both countries.

Executive Secretary of NEITI, Zainab Ahmed, said in Abuja that the NEITI Act of 2007 grants the agency the power to make regulations through which it can impose sanctions on erring companies covered in the NEITI’s oil, gas and solid minerals audit process.

– Chika Amanze-Nwachuku

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