By Victor Ahiuma-Young
PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has called on the Federal Government to tailor ongoing efforts to reform the oil and gas sector towards equitable distribution of wealth among all stakeholders.
Speaking at a three_day zonal workshop in Calabar, Cross River State, the Chairman of the Zone, Comrade Telema Dawari Smart_Jack, said the reforms would not be complete unless equity issues with wealth distribution among stakeholders were addressed.
Comrade Smart_Jack cited some of the reasons given by the government for embarking on reforms in the industry to include addressing â€œinadequate legal and governance structures that cannot cater for needs of modern oil and gas industry, obsolete NNPC Act 1977, disperse policy statements, amendments and regulations, and ill-equipped Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Others are the need to separate and clarify the roles between public agencies operating in the industry, need to infuse strict commercial orientation in all relevant aspects of the industry, repositioning of the nationâ€™s oil and gas industry, and the need to enunciate the national oil and gas policy.â€
The zonal Chairman said the workshop with the theme: Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry: Key Challenges and Prospects from all Stakeholdersâ€™ Perspectives, was organised to bring stakeholders together in a congenial atmosphere to jointly identify the key challenges and prospects, adding that the workshop should be used to articulate and have a workable template for peaceful co-existence and industrial harmony among stakeholders.
In his address, PENGASSAN President, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, said that the real challenges facing the reforms were the optimization of the nationâ€™s hydrocarbon potentials, unacknowledged and wasting human resources, and the nationâ€™s entrepreneurial endowments to achieve lasting functional legacy.
Comrade Ogun who was represented by the General Secretary, Comrade Bayo Olowoshile, noted that the workshop was beyond educating and exposing participants to issues, but equally a moment to ruminate on socio_economic and political relevance of the oil and gas industry to the nationâ€™s economy.
He argued that issues such as â€œjob security and decent work life for the PENGASSAN members, post- amnesty programme, power generation, National Content DevelopmentÂ targets, terminal date for gas flare out, safety and security for oil workers and infrastructure, casualisation and contract staffing, unfair labour practices, review of free trade zones regulations, and strengthening of the Public Private Participation, PPP for the development of oil and gas infrastructure, are germane to oil and gasÂ reform.â€