By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Senior staff in the oil and gas sector have called on the in-coming Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the oil and gas sector to address issues bedevilling it.
The workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, argued that all sub-sectors of the oil and gas industry are going through problems that are pulling down the sector and the entire economy.
In a statement, the PENGASSAN President, Comrade Francis Johnson, said that there are many issues which require urgent attention from the in-coming government to reposition the industry for efficient and effective delivery of its benefits to Nigerians.
He noted that there is need for the in-coming government to call an all-inclusive stakeholders’ forum of those involved in operations in the sector to critically examine and proffer enduring solutions to all the problems in the larger interest of the Nigerian nation.
Comrade Johnson said: “All the subsectors of the oil and gas industry have one challenge or another which are affecting the delivery of the benefits of our God-given hydrocarbon resources to the country.
“These challenges are as a result of past neglect, wrong policies and policy summersault in some areas of the subsectors. All these are inflicting pains on Nigerians who ought to be enjoying the benefits of the natural resources that God bequeathed to the country.”
He listed some of the challenges to include pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, state of the refineries, intractable and persistent scarcity of petroleum products, subsidy payment controversies, divestment, illegal transfer or allocation of oil blocs, irregular Joint Venture (JV) funding with emphasis on delay in cash call payment, inadequate funding of government agencies in the oil and gas sector and undue interference in the management of government agencies.
The union leader said that the stakeholders’ forum will chart ways of attending to the critical challenges affecting the industry and evolve a framework that will facilitate its stability, adding that machineries should be set in motion for periodic meetings to evaluate and review the success and workability of the framework.