03 April 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN and its sister union, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, say they have no reservations against the five percent fuel levy in the harmonised PIGB recently passed by the National Assembly.
Recall that the National Assembly Conference Committee last week passed the harmonised version of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, which includes a five per cent fuel levy on consumers.
The bill imposes a five percent levy in respect of all fuel sold and distributed within the country and monies accrued from the levy, according to the bill, would be deployed towards funding of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund.
Speaking on the development, the Chairman, NUPENG and PENGASSAN Joint Committee on PIB, Mr. Chika Onuegbu, said oil workers in the country have no qualms with the fuel levy because they were duly consulted before the PIGB was passed.
Onuegbu, speaking to our correspondent in Port Harcourt, explained that monies accrued from the fuel levy would be used for road maintenace across the country, noting that dilapidated roads were a major challenge in the country.
He stated that the oil workers’ unions would only have problems if the implementation of the bill does not reflect the discussions and agreements reached during the consultations before the making of the bill.
According to him, “We don’t have issues with the five percent levy, we have been in constant touch with the National Assembly and our understanding is that the monies from the levy will be used for infrastructural development such as road maintenaince.
“We have been in constant discussion with the National Assembly, we were engaged, we were consulted and we agreed that five percent fuel levy is okay because from time to time, we have always had PTD and NUPENG threatening to go on strike because of bad roads, so it is something that we were consulted and we don’t see any issue with it.
“It is only if it is not implemented as discussed that we will find issue, but in terms of the general principles, we are okay with it. We are not saying it is a step in the right direction because we don’t know the direction, but we are saying we don’t have any reservation against it because we were duly consulted.”
Onuegbu, who is a former National Industrial Relations Officer of PENGASSAN, also called for the speedy assent to the PIGB by President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as the speedy passage of other aspect of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
“We think the President should speedily assent to the PIGB so that the reforms in the petroleum industry will begin to take shape,” he said.
Asked how the five percent fuel levy will be realised and if it will affect the pump price of fuel, Onuegbu said, “we don’t know for now, that will be worked out over time, the bill is not yet a law for now until assented by the President.
“The problem is not increase in fuel price but deregulating the sector, it is about making sure that the refineries are working and that products are available.”