10 December 2013, Abuja – The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alision-Madueke has said the government was ready to discuss and negotiate with organised labour in the sector with a view to ensuring smooth sail of the privatisation of the nation’s four refineries.
Alison-Madueke who said this in Abuja, explained that adequate room had been made in the privatisation time-table for engagement with all stakeholders to resolve all labour issues to ensure a win-win situation for all.
Recall that oil workers under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, have opposed Federal Government’s plan to sell the nation’s refineries.
But the minister had insisted that the nation’s four refineries would be put up for sale by the first quarter of next year.
She said that the government was going ahead with the original plan to rehabilitate the refineries to be able to get a premium price from their sale, adding, that negotiation rounds for Port Harcourt refinery has already been completed, and is now on the move in terms of turnaround maintenance.
According to her, “the privatization of the refineries will come in the first quarter of 2014. At this point in time, the negotiation rounds for Port Harcourt refinery have already been completed. As you know, we started with the turnaround maintenance with the original contractors that built the refinery
“As you know, we started with the TAM with the original contractors who built the Port Harcourt refinery and this was with the intent on ensuring that the right people carried out this TAM once and for all. Unfortunately the actual negotiation have extremely been a long drawn out one because of the prices they came in with at the get go.
“It has taken a number of months of very aggressive robust negotiation to get to the point with Port Harcourt Refinery where we can actually begin to implement the work. Port Harcourt is now on the move in terms of TAM and once that is close to completion, Kaduna and then Warri will continue.
*Chris Ochayi, Vanguard