Victor Ahiuma-Young & Johnson Agbakwuru
Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has condemned reported plans by the Federal Government to scrap some regulatory agencies in the oil and gas industry including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, without involving stakeholders in the industry.
A statement by PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officers, Emmanuel Ojugbana, said: “While it is important to note that a wholesome reform in the oil and gas industry is desirable and proper, it is equally unadvisable to contemplate any sort of restructuring without the buy-in of the very persons such action will directly or indirectly impact. It is curious to note that a critical aspect of organisational reforms like the work force would be over-looked in the current contemplation.”
According to PENGASSAN, the union was not aware of any known channel other than the National Assembly with powers to either repeal or enact laws on existing corporations and agencies duly set up by law, such as NNPC.
The senior staff trade union said that its attention was drawn to a well-publicized proposal by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to ‘restructure’ the Oil and Gas industry particularly the scrapping of selected regulatory agencies and NNPC, adding that several stakeholders’ forum had been called with regards to such action plan by the Ministry.
It noted that the Association had been at the fore front of eventual passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by the National Assembly, noting:”We had severally made input known on some burning issues which include job security, job creation, transparency in fiscal regime, infrastructural development, promotion of local content, local refining capacity, community development and wealth creation for Nigerians. While exercising tremendous restraint at joining issues, we owe it a duty to the general public and our stakeholders to state that we are completely in the dark with regards to the proposed industry road map.
“We have continued to serve as the voice of reason within the Nigerian set up insisting on genuine reforms that will sanitize the system and regain the confidence of Nigerians and Stakeholders in the industry. The Association expressed readiness to support any initiative aimed at revamping the oil and gas industry just as it will challenge under-development and impoverishment of Nigerians under the guise of restructuring.
“From the foregoing, we wish to advise a second look at our initial observations and clarifications with regards to the passage of the PIB.
“On our part, we assure Nigerians of our total commitment to service delivery, job security, job creations, diligence and hard work that will grow and expand the frontiers of the Oil and Gas sector of the economy.”