03 March 2014, Lagos – The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has accused international oil companies (IOCs) of stalling the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly.
The PIB was set up by the federal government to carry out a comprehensive review of the oil and gas industry, with the underlying purpose of obtaining better ways of effectively managing the nation’s oil wealth for the overall growth of the economy.
The National President of NUIPENG, Igwe Achese, who disclosed this in Lagos, described the action of the IOCs as an obstacle to effective management of the country’s national resources.
According to him, the non-passage of the regulatory laws have given an impetus to wanton sabotage and fraudulent activities in the oil and gas industry, the result of which is huge revenue loss to government.
Specifically, he explained that the IOCs are stalling the passage of the bill because the new provision will increase their payment of taxes and royalties to the federal government, noting that this accounts for the major reason why the IOCs are divesting their investments to other countries.
He reiterated that the new drive by the oil majors and multinationals has amounted to sabotage stressing that the on-going divestment in the oil sector has led to massive job losses and casualisation in the oil and gas industry.
“The casualisation/outsourcing of workers has become a cancer, especially in the oil and gas sector. The union will call its members on a nation-wide strike without notice if industrial relations issues on outsourcing and negotiation of collective bargaining agreement CBA) for our members are not addressed by the multinational oil companies, especially, Mobil Oil Producing, Agip, Chevron and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC),” Achese stated.
He called on President Goodluck Jonthan to intervene as all efforts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the federal ministry of labour and productivity had failed to resolve the lingering labour issues in the sector.
Specifically, he called on the government to constitute a team to look into the issue in order to avert an impending industrial unrest.
He also called on members of the National Assembly to put the interest of the countty above theirs by expediting action in the passage of the PIB. This, he stated will enhanced revenue accruals to government, protect the country’s resources and secure the industry for sustainable growth and development.
“It is against this backdrop that we call for the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill that is before the National Assembly. The quick passage will go a long way to reforming and ensuring transparency in the oil and gas sector. The multinationals are running helter-skelter to halt the passage of the bill but this must be rebuffed by the lawmakers because the multinationals are doing it for their selfish interests,” Achese said.
– Linda Eroke, This Day