By Victor Ahiuma-Young
PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has warned politicians and other stakeholders aiming to sell or buy the nation’s refineries to jettison such idea and steer clear to avoid the wrath of workers.
According to PENGASSAN, Organised Labour and indeed, well meaning Nigerians, would not accept the sale of the refineries now or in the future and urged the the Federal Government to do the needful and ensure that the refineries return to optimal performance.
The umbrella body for senior staff in the nation’s Petroleum industry contended that those scheming to sell or privatise the refineries would not be able to survive the consequences of their planned action.
Speaking at the 5th NNPC Group Executive Council, GEC, Triennial Delegates’ Conference, TDC, in Abuja, President of PENGASSAN, Francis Olabode Johnson, implored the Federal Government to hasten works on the rehabilitation of the refineries.
He said: “We strongly appeal to the Federal Government to hasten work on the rehabilitation of the refineries as conflicting pronouncements are creating more confusion. We urge the government to fast track the rehabilitation of the refineries so that the intended sales as being propagated in certain quarters will not be accepted. PENGASSAN’s position from time immemorial has been the Nigerian National Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, model and for the model to be accepted by the association, the rehabilitation of these refineries must be concluded, as this will go a long way in not short-changing the Nigerian nation.”
On the conference titled: The role of Labour in Maintaining Industrial and Political Stability in Nigeria, Johnson lauded the NNPC management for its role in ensuring the Joint Venture, JV, Cash Call resolution, fully functional operations of depots in Mosimi, Ore, Aba, Gombe, Ibadan, Calabar, Ilorin, Kaduna and others.
He said: “We will use this medium to sincerely appreciate the dedication and commitment efforts of the NNPC Management in their investment drive to position the corporation for greater efficiency. We are again grateful to the management of NNPC and other subsidiary units for their support on capacity development, improved staff welfare and career progression for some of our members of the GEC and our associations as a whole. We equally commend the management for their understanding in resolving issues involving some management staff recently.”
Also in his speech, the GEC Chairman, Comrade Sulaiman .A. Sulaiman, called on the management of NNPC to put as a priority the issues of the downstream sector, most especially the refineries, depots and pipelines that have defied solutions.
According to him, the refineries are almost grounded and the only hope of comprehensive rehabilitation through the financier model as proposed by top management of NNPC seems unrealistic.
He emphasized that this development is giving was giving the workforce some concern; adding that other staff related issues that need management intervention include deterioration of staff strength in almost every section of the corporation, Human Capacity Development/Training and succession planning.