By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has counseled Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as he takes over the presidency of the country, not to rush in removing subsidy in Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, commonly known as petrol because of its socio-economic implications.
NUPENG in a statement by its President and General Secretary, Prince Williams Akporeha and Afolabi Olawale, urged the new administration to make all three public refineries functional and should not because of the availability of the anticipatory products from Dangote refinery allow all the hard-earned funds injected into the rehabilitation of the three public refineries (Warri, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna) wasted but concrete efforts should be geared towards making them functional and operate in full capacities to generate returns on the investments.
The statement among others, said “We earnestly implore the government of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu to save Nigeria and Nigerians from the shame and global ridicule of open thefts and sales of the nation’s crude oil in the international markets while the country is reeling in helplessness, hardship, and poverty. The administration should as a matter of urgency address this issue with all vigor and urgency.
The new President needs no further introduction to the tumultuous journey that led to eventual signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill into an Act of the Parliament by Out-going President Muhammadu Buhari with the objectives of having a Petroleum Industry that will be accountable, rewarding and transparent in financials, governance and responsiveness to the needs and yearnings of Communities and stakeholders.
“These desirable objectives can only be achieved with strict adherence in implementation to the spirit and letters of the Act. We therefore strongly plead with the President-elect and his team to give a new narrative to wrong notions that Nigeria governments are no respecter of their laws. Let the Petroleum Industry Act, no matter any perceived shortcomings inherent be implemented until any further amendments are made.
“Without any doubt a major socio/economic policy on the front burner of national discourse and expectation is the recurrent discussion/debate for the removal of subsidy from the Petroleum Motor Spirit.
“As a responsible and responsive Trade Union in the Industry we are very desirous of policy change on the issue of subsidy on PMS, but we are deeply concerned of the failure of the successive administration to do the needful as severally advised and canvassed for by organized labor in order to avoid unintended consequences on the people and the body polity.
“We are delighted that our concerns about the dependence on importation are being addressed by the recently commissioned Dangote Refinery, but we are quick to add that the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu should not rush into taking any decision on the Policy change until the products are actually in the market from the Dangote Refinery.
“In same vein the administration should make all three public refineries functional and should not because of the anticipatory products availability from Dangote refinery allow all the hard-earned funds injected into the rehabilitation of the three public refineries (Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna) wasted but concrete efforts should be geared towards making them functional and operate in full capacities to generate returns on the investments.
“It has always been our firm belief that deregulation that is based on local production will not only increase the revenue earnings of the country, but it will also generate employment and make life more meaningful to ordinary Nigerians. It’s also very imperative for the new administration to have robust engagement and discussion with all key stakeholders, most especially the organized Labor on ways and means to mitigate these consequences on employment, inflation and living conditions of the working people.
“Any major policy decision on the removal of the subsidy on this very important economic item should be taken with extra caution in view of the enormous implications and the impacts on the overall economic activities of the nation and other unintended consequences on the ordinary citizens considering the socio-economic importance of the product.”