By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA -PRESIDENT Muhamadu Buhari has said to demonstrate his commitment to Nigeria’s reforms, that he would give assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, as soon as the National Assembly presents it to him.
This was as he appealed to workers in the oil and gas sector to accord maximum cooperation to his administration in order to deliver on his promise of reforming the sector.
The president who spoke in Abuja at the 40th anniversary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, said when the bill comes into effect as law, that it would address most of the challenges facing the oil and gas industry.
Represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, President Buhari appealed to the workers to support his government to ensuring better welfare for them.
While commending the workers for the progress made so far in the sector, Buhari said dialogue, and not industrial action, is a better approach to driving home their demands during a dispute with their employers.
According to Ngige, “Mr President asked me to congratulate you on the celebrations of your 40 years in existence. He is a workers’ friendly president that is concerned about better working condition for workers.”
“He is a president that respects the rule of law and the law of the land. He promised to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill once it is brought to him.”
Speaking earlier, NUPENG president, Comrade Williams Akporeha, lamented the trend where workers are turned to casual staff members by Oil companies, adding that the union will always fight for a better working condition for its members.
“The enormous challenges confronting our union, most especially, with regard to the employers, are the government and general public’s perception of our enormous powers, influence and ever constant solidarity.
“We know that most often, many employers are scared of relating with us and this wrong perception is sometimes responsible for the hostile attitude to our efforts in organising their employees.
“In the light of this realisation, our administration will embark on massive public image polishing and mending relationship with all perceived aggrieved stakeholders. Our new mission is to ensure prosperity and good returns for everyone in the industry. We pledge to be more cooperative and collaborative in our dealings but without compromising on the best interest of our members and global labour best practices.
“We have further resolved to be more open and engaging in social dialogue with all stakeholders. We urge everyone, government, employers and the general public to know that we are fully committed to rendering efficient, effective and public/stakeholders friendly services to our dear country and its citizens.”