…As Speaker Dogara vows passage of Bill before end of 2017
28 October 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Workers in the oil and gas sector under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have alleged that the huge loss of revenue and investments in the country was due to delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
In a communique signed by PENGASSAN President and its General Secretary, Francis Olabode Johnson and Lumumba Okugbawa, respectively, at the end of its National Executive Council meeting in Lagos, the workers commended the National Assembly’s efforts to pass the Bill, adding that more effort should be made to ensure it was passed.
“The stakeholders (oil workers) will ensure that the lacunas, particularly the adverse labour clauses identified in the Bill are addressed before its passage,” it stated.
The association condemned the continuous vandalism on pipelines adding that the unfortunate development had caused incalculable economic damage in the sector.
It said that there was the need to create strong security strategies and use of modern equipment to end unnecessary attacks and damaging of nation’s assets.
“We acknowledge efforts of the government to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries, which are in appalling state for optimal delivery.
“We urge the government to give priority to Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) in all the four state-owned refineries as well as rehabilitate depots, jetties, tank farms, pipelines and pump stations,” it said.
It said that rehabilitating the depots would ease supply of crude oil to the refineries as well as the evacuation and distribution of refined products nationwide.
The worker also decried the anti-union posture by indigenous oil and gas companies and marginal field operators and resolved to resist any management that infringes on the workers’ Rights to Freedom of Association and Lawful Assembly.
It called on regulatory institutions and business partners (Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), International Oil Companies (IOCs), Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to call such companies to order.
The workers urged the government to embark on a number of coordinated steps to resolve some of the problems bedeviling the oil and gas industry.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly, especially the lower chamber, may become feasible before the end of the year.
Dogara, who spoke recently in Abuja at a stakeholders’ dialogue organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) to fast-track the passage of the bill, insists it is high time the bill becomes law to speed up transformation in the sector and boost the sector’s contribution to the economy.
The Speaker, represented by Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Mr. Victor Nwokolo, was optimistic that current effort by the House on the bill would yield meaningful result as soon as possible.
He said the House would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that every aspect of the bill, which is currently divided to about four segments, was signed to address the challenges in the sector.
Dogara said, “We are working seriously on it. I don’t think it will delay beyond this year.”
He added that the current governance crisis in the sector and other emerging issues in the industry would force the House to pass the bill to the best interest of Nigerians.
However, industry experts at the forum said the bill, if not signed as quickly as possible, would continue to hamper the sector’s growth, including revenue losses amounting to about $200 billion.