U-turn on Refineries: Oil workers doubt Jonathan’s sincerity

Pengassan06 January 2014, Lagos – Indications emerged yesterday that oil workers do not believe the announcement that President Goodluck Jonathan has not approved the privatisation of the nation’s four refineries.

The oil workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff Association and (PENGASSAN), have said a planned meeting with the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, would still hold tomorrow.

In a text message from our correspondent on whether or not the parley would still hold, despite Jonathan’s disapproval of the transaction – which reportedly infuriated the workers to give a warning strike notice on December 18, last year – PENGASSAN President Comrade Babatunde Ogun said the announcement by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, was not convincing.

Ogun stressed that the workers would hold the meeting because they wanted Nigerians to witness the happenings between both sides.

He said: “We can believe a statement by an aide of the President but we are not convinced yet. We want Nigerians to be our witnesses: the meeting will hold.”

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had announced in London that the Federal Government would privatise the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC) I; Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC) II; Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (KRPC) and Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (WRPC) in the first quarter of this year.

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), in a statement in Abuja, announced that Dr Jonathan had approved of the privatisation of the refineries.

The BPE statement added that the President had raised a steering committee on the privatisation of the refineries.

A statement by the Head of Public Communications of BPE, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, said the Minister of Petroleum Resources heads the committee while its members are: Ministers of Finance, Power, Labour, National Planning, Mines and Steel Development, Justice and the Chairman of the Extractive Sub-Committee of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).

Other members are: the Special Adviser to the Vice President on Economy, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, the Director-General of BPE, the Group Executive Director (Refineries) of the NNPC, among other.

The committee’s Secretary is Director (Oil and Gas) of the BPE.

The statement added: “This is in keeping the Transformation Agenda, which seeks to catalyse and provide an enabling environment for the private sector to be the drivers of economic growth in the country.”

But Dr Abati, in a statement on January 2, explained that the government had no plans to privatise the refineries.


– The Nation

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