By VictorÂ Ahiuma-Young
THE nationâ€™s oilÂ workersÂ have said local refining of petroleum products remains the only solution to the perennial and un-ending products scarcity currently ravaging the country.
Under the umbrella of the Petroleum and Natural Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), the oil workers advised the National Assembly to ensure that provision for full local refining of petroleum products was incorporated into the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before it to address the national embarrassment of fuel importation.
PENGASSAN in a statement by its President and General Secretary, Comrades Babatunde Ogun and Bayo Olowoshile respectively, argued that unless the local refining capacity of the country was increased and the distribution channels developed, fuel scarcity would not be totally eradicated in the country.
The umbrella body for senior staff in the oil sector lamented that the un-ending and perennial fuel scarcity in the country was seriously taking its toll on the socio-economic activities in the country and posited that increasing the local refining capacity remained the only solution to the problem.
The association decried what the nation was encountering with the importation bottlenecks and called on the government to ensure that a time frame was put in place to end importation of petroleum products into the country.
According to PENGASSAN,â€œthe government has not demonstrated enough commitment to assuage the sufferings of Nigerian masses. The expansion of jetties and receiving facilities have been abandoned and the refineries are not working.
â€œThere are many options the government can adopt to ensure that Nigerians do not pay extra charges or go through unnecessary pains caused by scarcity that can be avoided. The government can adopt the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) for the development of the jetties. The National Assembly must take this into cognizance in the PIB now before it.
â€œFrom a trade union point of view, we are concernedÂ local refining of crude, jobs protection, best practices and improved condition of work, social responsibility and social development as key elements to improve relations with host community and improved profitability to the nation,â€ it said.