• Friday, June 14, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Fuel scarcity likely as PENGASSAN plans withdrawal from oil locations

pengassan

Nigeria faces possible petroleum products scarcity as Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has ordered members to leave their duty posts at oil installations and offices across the country from 12:00 hours beginning Thursday, July 7.

The PENGASSAN order has also directed the leadership of its four zones in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna to commence sensitisation of members, with details of the planned action starting Monday, July 4 (yesterday).

The strike, according to a statement signed by Lumumba Okugbawa, acting general secretary of the association, will affect all sub-sectors of the oil and gas industry, which include the upstream, the midstream and the downstream sectors.

In a memo dated July 4, 2016 and addressed to all zonal chairmen, secretaries, all branch chairmen and secretaries, PENGASSAN urged members to embark on gradual withdrawal of services from their various offices, sites and production facilities as from Thursday.

The memo cited the inability of the Federal Government to honour agreements contained in May 12, 2016 communiqué as the reason for calling for the strike.

The senior staff association listed some of the issues to include lingering irregular joint venture funding and cash call payment arrears, lack of a clear cut direction on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), forceful co-option of government agencies in the industry into the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), and spate of redundancy and retrenchment in the industry.

It said several efforts to engage the government to forestall the strike were frustrated by the government, stating that sequel to the above subject, the association tried to engage the Federal Government on May 24, 2016, which was inconclusive.

“The engagement was later fixed for June 23, 2016, which did not take place and again for June 30, 2016, which was unceremoniously cancelled with no date given.

“We see this as a deliberate attempt by the government to frustrate the discussion of the myriad of issues raised in the communiqué, which are critical to the survival of the oil and gas industry in the country.

“Among the burning issues raised is that of the JV funding/cash call arrears, which has stalled new investments and the creation of jobs in the industry and which has consequently brought about massive job losses in the industry. We have equally noted with great dismay that our tertiary institutions keep churning out graduates with no or very limited job placement opportunities for them. Even for those that are fortunate to have jobs it has been tug of war getting their salaries paid as at and when due and are faced with redundancies on a regular basis also, especially in the service sector.

“We cannot fold our hands and watch this gradual collapse of our strategic oil and gas industry and its attendant consequences on the nation’s economy, which is a sharp contrast to the present government’s avowed promised to creation and retention of jobs,” the oil workers association stated.