By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN — Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, weekend, condemned what it described as the excessive powers conferred on the President and Minister of Petroleum in the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, and called on the National Assembly to remove the “discretionary and excessive powers accorded to them in over all interest of the country and the petroleum industry.”
TUC, in a statement by its President-General, Mr. Peter Esele and Secretary-General, Mr. Musa Lawal, after its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Benin City, Edo State, also condemned the suspension sine die, by the National Assembly, of debate on Local Government autonomy, noting that with so much resources committed to gaining people’s opinion across the nation, it was “criminal and inexcusable for any one to suspend the debate at this stage.”
Noting that the delay in the passage of the PIB was affecting investors’ confidence in the nation’s economy, TUC stressed the need to ensure that the PIB struck a balance between government’s take and investors’ interest to ensure the continued growth of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
“All licences, leases, contracts and awards must be through transparent competitive bidding, and all tendencies for discretionary or absolute powers in the bill must be checked. The National Assembly must ensure that, in the final analysis, the Petroleum Industry Bill reflects a position that sustains cohesion and fairness of all stakeholders in the Nigerian project,” it stated.
On the subsidy regime, TUC pointed out that there were still some issues relating to the implementation of subsidy that border on fraud, and proposed the setting up of a committee, including the leaders of the two labour unions, TUC and Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to create a more durable and reliable subsidy regime for the country.