By Victor Ahiuma-Young
PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has blamed the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, for the rot in the oil industry and the slide in returns on investments in the sector.
The Union, in a statement by its President and General Secretary, Igwe Achese and Joseph Ogbebor, respectively, called on the National Assembly to expedite actions for the passage of the bill to return the industry on path of growth.
The statement said that leaders of “NUPENG have examined the progress so far made in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill and other components of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill and express disappointment at the slow pace of work in the passage despite the assurance given by the leadership of the national assembly that the bill will receive accelerated hearing and passage.
“We consider the delay in the passage of the bill to be majorly responsible for the rot in the industry and the slide in the returns accruable from investments made by successive governments and investors. We call on the National Assembly to expedite parliamentary actions for speedy passage of the bill for the purposes of engendering transparency, accountability and commensurate returns in the operations of Oil and Gas sector, we believe will further enhance the visibility and attractiveness of thesector to both foreign and local investors.”
On refineries, the statement said: “NUPENG notes the current calls and agitation by some interested capitalists for the privatization of the nation’s four refineries.
“We kick against such moves and advise the Federal Government to sincerely do the Turn-Around-Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries and upgrade their systems in order to allow them produce at full capacity. The CWC believes that this will go a long way to reduce the massive importation of petroleum products into the country. We also call on the Federal Government to grant tax holidays and free land for investors who want to establish private refineries.
“NUPENG commends the Federal Government position to encourage operators of illegal refineries to be integrated into establishment of modular refineries. We advise that the pronouncement should not be political but matched with actions to train the refiners, put appropriate policies and regulations in place to regulate their operations in order to protect the eco system from possible negative effects of their activities.”