• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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NUPRC denies allegations of illegal recruitment, others

Nigeria plans crude oil trading on Lagos exchange for first time to open access to funding for industry

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission has denied the allegations of illegal recruitment, poor employees’ welfare, and fraud among others, made by workers’ union.

This is also followed a protest by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Tuesday at the NUPRC headquarters in Abuja.

PENGASSAN had in a letter accused the commission of various issues, including non-remittance of pension, poor conducive work environment, insufficient working tools, staff medicals, outstanding payments of 2023 upfront allowances, unpaid staff claims, unpaid staff on-call-allowance, and non-payment of outsource personnel.

In response, the NUPRC said that contrary to the allegations that pension deductions from staff emoluments have not been remitted to the various PFAs in line with the Pension Reform Act 2014, the Commission had fully settled all pension deductions.

Regarding staff welfare and working conditions, the commission stated that an additional working space had been secured in Abuja, while relevant steps have been taken to fit the necessary facilities in the Port Harcourt and Lagos offices, adding that all medical expenses are scheduled for payment and are undergoing processing.

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The NUPRC also addressed issues around fraud and corruption, stating that allegations such as the misappropriation of N10 billion virement, donation of N4 billion to political parties, Inflation of contracts to siphon funds amounting to N1billion N900 million spent on sensitisation workshops,N500 million for office renovations, N1.5 billion for luxury transportation, including private jets are false and misleading.

“The sensitisation workshops were approved by the appropriate authority in line with due process and duly executed by the Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) department in line with the scope of duties and responsibilities; some of the offices, including those in the zones and fields, had to be restructured, refurbished and furnished to accommodate additional personnel and replace old and damaged furniture and equipment inherited at inception,” it said.

NUPRC also challenged them to publish the account details and invoices supporting the transactions in their claims.

The commission was also alleged to have recruited over 140 individuals without proper procedure which violated the federal character commission’s policies on equal opportunities.

“The recruitment alleged was done in compliance with all procedures and compliance certificate issued by the relevant organ; By law (the Petroleum Industry Act 2021), the powers of appointment, promotion and remuneration are vested in the board of the commission, while statutorily the Federal Character Commission regulates compliance with statutory procedure with regards to recruitment into public establishments,” it stated.

The commission added that the scope of the protests points to a premeditated action which suggests that staff welfare may just have been a facade and not be the major reason.

“Since the commission commenced strategic moves to sanitise the oil and gas industry in the country, especially with the passing of some regulations to curb oil theft and losses through operational and administrative leakages, the management has come under intense pressure and harassment from some dissatisfied stakeholders using every available weapon at their disposal,” it said.