By George Onah
Port Harcourt—The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, are set to start a three-day warning strike next week, to protest the new Rivers Social Services Contributory levy law 2010.
The unions decided, yesterday, after a meeting in Port Harcourt, that they were taken unawares by the law but that the strike would take effect after meeting with Governor Chibuike Amaechi next week over the law, which was signed into law on September 2, 2010.
The strike, they said will help create awareness of the existence of the law to “market women, artisans and others on the street, who do not know about it because NUPENG/PENGASSAN are not people whose fences you scatter and they allow you to go free.”
Chairman of NUPENG, Mr Godwin Eruba, Port Harcourt zonal council and Mr Telema Smart-Jack, Zonal Acting Chairman, Port Harcourt zone of PENGASSANsaid the unions would not tolerate the double taxation being introduced by the new law.
Also, Chairman of Trade Union Congress, Mr Hyginuis Onuegbu described the law as “obnoxious,” arguing that they did not compel the government to embark on the schools and primary health centres to warrant their being double- taxed for their equipment and maintenance.
The group argued further that there was no rational for a local government chairman to be taxed three thousand naira monthly while an oil company worker will also pay the same adding that government has not bothered to find out how they were coping with the harsh conditions under which they work.
They sought to know what a government as rich as Rivers State has been doing with all the revenue accruing to it from the monthly federation allocation, excess crude oil and even internally generated revenue.