Fuel price increase is not possible, it’ll kill Nigerians —PENGASSAN President

As body decries neglect of stakeholders in proposed oil sector reform


WITH the present economic situation in the country and suffering of Nigerians, the President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Olabode Johnson, has declared that it is totally impossible for the government to further increase the pump price of fuel.

Olabode emphasized that any attempt to further increase fuel price is meant to kill Nigerians, who are already going through riots suffering and groaning in poverty.

“Definitely, we can’t go up again,” he said in an interview with Nigerian Tribune, adding that, “any increase in pump price now will be very unfair to Nigerians.”

He pointed out that the government would not tow that line and take further step to increase the pump price from the present N145 per litre.

Olabode, however, warned that the organized labour will take appropriate action if there is any plan toward that direction. He warned: “If there is anything like that I believe the stakeholders and everybody will be called in to action.”

“For me as a labour leader, any increase in pump price now will be very unfair to Nigerians. Why I keep saying this is because the NNPC has increased their own from N141 to N145, then people are saying that there is going to be increase. It is not possible.

“There is a sealing and there is a bar. It is only when NNPC or anybody goes beyond that we can say there are issues. For a long time, people have been selling below that bar and now that NNPC is going for N145 some are also going for N141 and N143.

“That is the beauty of the industry. I don’t think the government will take another step and as labour,  if there is anything like that I believe the stakeholders and everybody will be called in to action. Anything outside that is not acceptable because Nigerians are groaning and suffering.”

He pointed out that the action which the government is taking on the dollar exchange rate would further help to bring down the fuel price, it it becomes stabilized.

“Now the government is also looking at what they can do with the dollar parity, there was a meeting that you cannot buy above N390 to a dollar and sell above this. For us and Nigerians, any increase is going to  affects Nigerians the more and like a friend keeps telling me any sacrifice that has no terminal date is meant to kill somebody.

“Definitely we can’t go up again. I also know again that with what the government is trying to do on the issue of dollar exchange rate; before the end of the year we will see the price coming down,” he said.

Meanwhile, the association condemned the proposed plans by the Federal Government to scrap some selected regulatory agencies in the oil and gas industry and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) without involving stakeholders in the industry.

According to a statement signed by the PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officers, Emmanuel Ojugbana, the sssociation noted, “while it is important to note that a wholesome reform in the oil and gas industry is desirable and proper, it is equally unadvisable to contemplate any sort of restructuring without the buy-in of the very persons such action will directly or indirectly impact.

“It is curious to note that a critical aspect of organisational reforms like the work force would be over-looked in the current contemplation.”

PENGASSAN said it was not aware of any known channel other than the National Assembly with powers to either repeal or enact laws on existing corporations and agencies duly set up by law.

The senior staff trade union said that its attention was drawn to a well-publicized proposal by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to ‘restructure’ the Oil and Gas industry particularly the scrapping of selected regulatory agencies and NNPC, adding that several stakeholders’ forum had been called with regards to such action plan by the Ministry.

It noted that the Association has been at the fore front of eventual passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly.

“We had severally made input known on some burning issues which include job security, job creation, transparency in fiscal regime, infrastructural development, promotion of local content, local refining capacity, community development and wealth creation for Nigerians.

“While exercising tremendous restraint at joining issues, we owe it a duty to the general public and our stakeholders to state that we are completely in the dark with regards to the proposed industry road map.

“We have continued to serve as the voice of reason within the Nigerian set up insisting on genuine reforms that will sanitize the system and regain the confidence of Nigerians and Stakeholders in the industry.”

The Association expressed readiness to support any initiative aimed at revamping the oil and gas industry just as it will challenge under-development and impoverishment of Nigerians under the guise of restructuring.

“From the foregoing, we wish to advise a second look at our initial observations and clarifications with regards to the passage of the PIB. On our part, we assure Nigerians of our total commitment to service delivery, job security, job creations, diligence and hard work that will grow and expand the frontiers of the Oil and Gas sector of the economy,” it said.