By Oscaline Onwuenenyi
ABUJA â€“ The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers have resolved to work together to ensure the smooth passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill currently before the National Assembly in order to impact positively on the Nigerian economy.
Speaking during the inaugural meeting between the Corporation and the newly elected National Executives of NUPENG, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo sued for synergy between the Corporation and the Union in the bid to successfully transform the Oil and Gas Industry in the Country.
Dr. Barkindo described the PIB as the single most important legislation that seeks to introduce transparency and accountability in the petroleum industry in Nigeria in consonance with International Best practices.
â€œThis is the first time in Nigeria that we will have an all encompassing law that would govern the industry in the most transparent manner that will meet the expectations of the international community as well. I am pleased to note that NUPENG, PENGASSAN and TUC have all participated actively in the designing of this bill,â€ Dr.Barkindo enthused.
He urged the unions to collaborate with the Corporation in enlightening members of the National Assembly and Nigerians including the media on the importance of this piece of legislation which will govern the industry in the years to come.
Barkindo also enjoined the leaders of the unions to put national interest ahead of their individual interest saying that for leaders to conquer the numerous challenges before them, they must be ready to live above board.
Responding to the issues of training and casualisation of workers in the Oil and Gas industry, He assured of the readiness of the Corporation to take a lead in the training and retraining of its staff to cover up skills gap that may arise after the passage of the PIB.
On the selective use of depots and bad roads to depots, the NNPC helmsman disclosed with delight that plans are under way to decentralize the depots in order to reduce the pressure in some of the jetties and oil farms in Lagos saying some of the roads to the depots have been awarded for rehabilitation by the government.
The NNPC GMD congratulated the new leadership on their election and assured them of managementâ€™s willingness to work hand_in_ hand with them to reduce friction.
Earlier, the new National President of NUPENG Comrade Igwe Achese informed the management that the union has incorporated a business arm christened NUPENG Ventures Ltd currently involved in haulage of petroleum products in the country and appealed for concessions from the Corporation.
â€œAs partners in progress, the leadership of the union wishes to request for specific concessions from the management to enable the NUPENG Ventures Ltd break even. In the face of dwindling membership and declining revenue, the need to diversify cannot be overemphasized,â€ Achese declared.
Achese further charged the NNPC to rehabilitate some access roads to the various depots and refineries to reduce accidents and damages of oil trucks, noting that the poor state of the roads was causing untold hardship to drivers and truck owners in the country.
In his remarks, the erstwhile President of NUPENG Comrade Peter Akpatason commended the management of the NNPC for its support to the union and pledged his readiness to partner with the Federal government to transform the oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria .