The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has said that it will resist plans by the Federal Government to privatise the country’s refineries.
The President of NUPENG, Achese Igwe, said in a statement, “NUPENG takes serious exception to the comments made by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke, that the nation’s refineries must be privatised.
“The minister’s comments are uncalled for, unnecessary and a mere diversion from the failure of the ministry to address the problem of scarcity of petroleum products currently being experienced in the country.
“NUPENG will resist any attempt by the Federal Government to go back on the agreement signed with the unions on January 7, 2014 in Abuja that the nation’s refineries will not be privatised.”
It said that in a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the end of the meeting, the two trade unions in the oil and gas sector, NUPENG and PENGASSAN, agreed with the Federal Government to engage in social dialogue to develop viable and workable business models for the nation’s refineries.
The statement added, “The union makes bold to say that billions of naira had been budgeted and purportedly spent on the Turn Around Maintenance of the refineries with nothing to show for it.
“We state that the refineries must be rehabilitated to work optimally, which will account for at least 70 per cent of domestic production, instead of selling the nation’s strategic assets.”
NUPENG said the minister should concentrate more on how the Petroleum Industry Bill could be passed so that the oil and gas industry would be opened up for investors to come in and establish more refineries and those already given licences would be encouraged to come on board.
It stressed that the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill would ensure transparency and accountability, and boost investors’ confidence, rather than allowing the current massive importation of petroleum products, which a few cabals were benefiting from at the expense of the nation.
The union said it believed that the transparency agenda of the President on job creation should be enhanced by allowing interested investors to set up private refineries.