Nigeria: Govt urged to initiate policies to end crises in oil and gas industry

*An oil drilling rig in the Soku oil field.

*An oil drilling rig in the Soku oil field.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

12 June 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – A labour leader and Chairman of Industrial Global Union, Africa Region, Comrade Issa Aremu has said it is time Nigeria put an end to endless crises in petroleum sector just as other OPEC countries have done through sustainable industrial policy and effective implementation of labour standards in the sector.

Aremu added that the persistent crises facing the oil and gas industry manifesting in serial sabotage, attacks by militants and workers’ strikes among others will not abate unless President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration initiate strong industrial policies to advance social, economic and environmental sustainability in the sector.

In a statement issued by the labour leader to journalists in Abuja, he urged the Federal Government to initiate strong industrial policies as contained in the 2014 Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.

He also implored the Federal government to, in the spirit of social dialogue, intensify negotiation with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) with a view to resolving the issues in dispute which led to the ongoing industrial action by the union.

“Some of the issues in dispute include the lingering irregular joint venture funding and cash call payments, lack of a clear cut direction on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), forceful co-option of government agencies in the industry into the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), and the spate of redundancy and retrenchment in the industry,” the statement read.

According to him, Buhari administration’s commitment to diversification must not lead to abandonment of commitment in the extractive oil sector such as irregular joint venture funding and cash call payments.

The statement reads further noted that, “Real diversification of the economy must start with oil and gas industry through value-added processing and manufacturing, which promote mass job creation, transfers of skills and technologies.

“It was unacceptable that Nigeria exports limited crude oil and gas, whilst same time importing wholesale value-added petroleum based products such as diesel, jet fuel, fuel oil and fertilizers among others with attendant loss of scarce foreign exchange, loss of few jobs at home and even scandalous export of jobs.

“The current adhoc, reactive ‘buy-the-peace’ in the sector must give way to a proactive holistic industrial development plan that must start with the passage of the age-long Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).”

He therefore urged the Federal Government to take urgent measures to address the legitimate demands of the oil workers and save the economy from the negative impact of the ongoing industrial action by the workers.

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