By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Lagos-The two unions in the nationâ€™s petroleum industry, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have petitioned the Federal Government, lamenting that their position on government planned deregulation of the downstream oil industry had unfortunately been interpreted by various groups and individuals to suit their purpose.
In a petition addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the leaders of NUPENG and PENGASSAN said their position was that the policy must be that of a guided deregulation.
The petition entitled: â€œNUPENGASSAN position on deregulation policy of the Federal Governmentâ€ and signed by Comrades Lumumba Okugbawa and Elijah Okougbo, Acting General Secretary and General Secretary of PENGASSAN and NUPENG respectively, read in part:Â â€œWe noted that lack of competition in the downstream sector of our industry has stalled growth and affected job opportunities.
We have also noted that any policy that guarantees competition and delivering of products to consumers will be encouraged on the ground that the enabling environment is provided and appreciated criterial put in place for sincere and effective implementation of the policy.
Such policy must seek to promote local refining and discourage reliance on importation to eradicate the obstacles that could render any policy ineffective being it regulation or deregulation.â€
â€œSome of the most prominent obstacles we have reasoned includes inadequate receptive and storage facilities such as jetties and depots, absence of good rail system, roads, functional pipelines networks, and above all, the existence of a power cartel that manipulates policy implementation for their selfish benefits.
â€œWe, therefore, maintain our support for guided deregulation and shall not hesitate to vary our position if the aforementioned conditions precedent to deregulation are not met.â€