The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has thrown its weight behind the Federal Government’s policy to end importation of petroleum products by 2018.
NUPENG’s General Secretary, Joseph Ogbebor, gave the union’s position in an interview on Monday in Lagos.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, had on Wednesday in Ebonyi announced that by 2018, Nigeria would stop the importation of refined petroleum products.
Ogbebor said importation of petroleum products was unnecessary and uncalled for, noting that previous administrations had failed to do the right thing.
Nigeria as an oil-producing state and member of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), he said, had no business importing refined products.
“Importation of petroleum products became unavoidable because there was no regular maintenance of the four government-owned refineries.
“This led to poor capacity utilisation and loss of jobs while promoting and sustaining jobs in countries where Nigeria imports petrol from.,” the NUPENG scribe said.
He said if new refineries were built and the existing ones given necessary turned-around maintenance with adequate crude supplied for refining for local consumption, importation of petroleum products would be unnecessary.
“This is what as a union we have been preaching for long. Turn the refineries around so that we can create jobs for Nigerians.
“Rather than depend on importation and by so doing create jobs outside the country while the people suffer.”
“If the government could implement it and put an end to petrol importation, it would be a welcome development and better for the economy,” Ogbebor added.