Labour

April 11, 2024

Oil workers rage over unending insecurity, crude oil theft, vandalism, others

Petroleum Industry Act, a milestone — PENGASSAN President

PENGASSAN President, Festus Osifo

By Victor AhiumaYoung 

THE Nigerian Petroleum Industry, the mainstay of the nation’s economy, has been stunted by several challenges that have been worrying the Organised Labour in the sector.

At the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Abuja, these issues were dominant in the deliberations.

Setting the stage for the meeting, PENGASSAN’s President, Festus Osifo, told members that “the apprehensions over the general insecurity, economic crisis, and crude oil theft, the ever-rising cost of goods and services, and increasing rate of multi-dimensional poverty, among other challenges, seem to have become part of the Nigerian life.

Challenges of sector

Focusing on the oil industry, Osifo lamented: “Our oil and gas industry faces several significant challenges that hinder its growth and development. Our industry suffers from a lack of adequate infrastructure, including refineries, pipelines, storage facilities, and transport networks.

“This leads to a heavy reliance on imports of refined petroleum products, making the country more vulnerable to price fluctuations in the international market and increasing cost of energy.

“Other canker worms infesting our dear sector lie in security issues, including crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, and attacks on oil installations that are a constant occurrence. These acts of sabotage disrupt production and result in revenue losses for the government and oil companies. The presence of armed groups, insurgent activities and organised high-power stealing further exacerbates the security challenges. “Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that includes improving environmental depredations, investing in social infrastructure, strengthening security measures, promoting local content development, increasing investments in the sector, etc.

“The passage of the Oil and Gas Industry Contents Development, NOGIC, Act in 2010 has greatly promoted local content participation in the industry. But we are still far from implementing the law to the letter. To promote sustainable growth, it is crucial to increase local content development and provide training and capacity-building opportunities for Nigerian professionals and entrepreneurs in the industry. On another hand, the recent presidential order that incentivizes investment in the Nigeria Oil and Gas sector is a welcome development.”

State of Association

On the Association, the President detailed achievements since last NEC meeting in Port Harcourt, emphasizing among others, collective bargaining agreement, CBA negotiation for members, CBA negotiation for Secretariat Staff of the Association, membership training, and staff reorganisation.

He said:  “I wish to inform our NEC members of the strategic reorganisation and restructuring that we carried out within our Association’s secretariat in the last few weeks. This was done to align our staff structure with our evolving needs and goals. As we grow and adapt to an ever-changing landscape, we must have the right people in the right positions to achieve success.

“By restructuring our staff, we aim to streamline our operations, maximize productivity, and enhance overall performance which will lead to improved efficiency and effectiveness of our operations.

“Furthermore, this redeployment provides an opportunity for our employees to expand their skill set, take on new challenges, and find areas where their talents can truly be put to maximum use. We understand that change can be daunting, but it also brings about fresh opportunities for learning and growth.

“By matching our staff’s expertise with roles that best suit their abilities, we are investing in their professional development and setting them up for long-term success.”

Safer industrial environment

Osifo reminded members that “in these challenging times in the lives of our association and the nation, as we fight to get better pay, protect jobs, and restore dignity in the workplace, we must do everything possible to create a safer industrial environment.

“We have a proud history of working together and supporting each other even in the most troubled times. We should all be proud of what we have achieved together over the past 46 years as comrades.”

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