20 June 2014, Lagos – The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has urged trade unions and other critics of the Petroleum Industry Bill to prepare for the changes that will be brought about when it is eventually passed.
The minister, who was represented by Mr. Jonathan Okehs, expressed optimism that the PIB, which is currently under consideration by the National Assembly, would come with changes that would bring about the reformation of the petroleum sector.
She spoke during a workshop organised by Unite Consult in collaboration with the Nigeria Labour Congress, Lagos Branch, in Lagos on Thursday.
Among the unions present at the workshop were the Trade Union Congress, NLC, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria.
She said, “Today, Nigeria is on the way to assessing capital investors in a sector that hitherto has been without prospects due to policies that make investments uneconomic to pursue. It is my firm belief that the PIB embodies the essential reforms that will put the petroleum sector on the path of robust growth.
“Adhering to the transformation principles advocated in the bill, Nigeria fully expects to be a significant hub in the African region for petroleum activities.
“The global economy is changing and Nigeria must adapt to these changes in order to grow sustainable economy in the future. As a nation, we need to wean ourselves from the dependence on natural resources and to diversify the economy to other important sectors. It is, therefore, my hope that the labour movement will adapt even as Nigeria adapts to global economic realities.”
The Vice President, NLC, Mr. Issa Aremu, described the PIB as one of the most important legislation in the history of the country, adding that the bill must address seven critical issues.
He explained that the PIB must recognise and uphold the interests and welfare of the organised labour and workers.
Aremu said, “The bill must ensure that all companies operating in the Nigerian oil and gas industry comply with all international labour conventions that have been ratified by Nigeria; ensure the mandatory recognition of the right to freedom of association and effective collective bargaining by all companies operating or doing business in the Nigeria oil and gas industry irrespective of where they are located.
– The Punch