06 January 2014, Abuja – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called for the urgent passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), stressing that it was unacceptable that the petroleum sector was still regulated by the old Petroleum Act of 1969.
NLC while saluting Nigerian workers for their resilience, commitment and hard work in 2013, its president, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, also called on governments at all levels to put job creation at the centre of their activities.
“We support the demand by the oil sector unions for the urgent passing of the Petroleum Industry Bill, if possible, in the first quarter of this year because it is unacceptable that the petroleum sector is still regulated by the old Petroleum Act of 1969.”
“The PIB with all the proposed inputs by all stakeholders will undoubtedly promote transparency and accountability and national benefits,” he added.
“Looking into the future, there is the need to recognise that the international market for Nigerian crude this year is likely to shrink as alternative sources come on stream because investment in gas development in the US and other countries are beginning to yield results,” he added.
According to him, the economy in 2013 was plagued by the continuing challenge of unemployment as a result of anti-workers’ activities as official statistics put the unemployment rate at 23.9 per cent.
“While anti-worker and anti-union practices in the banking, telecommunications and oil sectors, among others continued, during the year, which clearly demonstrate that workers’ and union rights guaranteed by the constitution cannot be taken for granted, we use this as an opportunity to salute workers and union leaders, as well as activists, who have kept up the struggle in defence of those rights.”
On the ongoing constitutional review by the National Assembly with an attempt by the Senate to distort the National Minimum Wage Act against the workers’ interest, Omar said: “While congress appreciates the intervention of the House of Representatives which had given a commitment to ensurethe attempt to remove labour issues, especially the minimum wage, from the Exclusive list will not be passed, we hope that the Senate will also fulfil its promise to do same as this will be the only way to guarantee sustainable industrial peace and harmony in the country this year.”