NLC, PENGASSAN vow to stop planned sale of NNPC, refineries

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vowed to resist any plan to sell the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), refineries and other assets by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government, in a Draft Petroleum Policy 2016, reiterated its commitment to restructuring the petroleum sector by scrapping the NNPC, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and creating a National Oil Company (NOC) that would be private sector driven.

However, in an interview with the Nigerian Tribune, on Monday, the General Secretary, NLC, Comrade Peter Izon Eson, stated that the labour union would resist any move by the Federal Government to sell the NNPC.

According to him, “We are completely against any move to sell our national assets. We have seen the results in the power sector when it was privatised by the Federal Government. We have seen situations where Nigerians are being exploited everyday through estimated billing, poor service delivery and lack of investment as promised by those investors.

Recently, former President Olusegun Obasanjo called for urgent reforms of the NNPC.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has warned the Federal Government to desist from its plans to scrap the NNPC, DPR, PPPRA and other agencies in the oil and gas industry without proper consultation with the unions.

The union stated in a statement signed by its national president, Comrade Igwe Achese, and made available to the Nigerian Tribune, on Monday, that it was another attempt by the government to reduce the workforce in the sector and would be resisted by the union.

NUPENG added that the current back door policy to retrench workers in the Federal Government corporations would not augur well for the industrial peace and harmony in the oil and gas sector under the guise of a national oil policy.

The union reiterated that what was necessary now was to strengthen the companies by granting them autonomy and not to be controlled by red-tapism in government.

It went on to say that scrapping those bodies and putting them under one umbrella to be known as Petroleum Regulatory Commission (PRC) would be too cumbersome and make the Petroleum Minister too powerful.

The union called on the Federal Government to put pressure on the National Assembly to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which would make the oil and gas industry much more efficient, transparent and accountable and in the long run to bring the needed investments in the sector.

NUPENG warned that it would not tolerate what the Federal Government was presently doing in aviation agencies like NAMA, FAAN, NIMET, where workers were being sacked in the name restructuring.

The union advised the National Assembly not to allow the scrapping of NNPC, DPR, and PPPRA as they were set up by law and could not be scrapped overnight by government fiat.