PENGASSAN calls for separation of Petroleum Ministry from Presidency

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to separate the Ministry of Petroleum Resources from the Presidency for effective operation of the ministry.

This is even as it has mandated the  incoming lawmakers in the National Assembly to see to the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as soon as they settle down.

President of PENGASSAN, Mr. Francis Olabode, addressing the media after the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union in Lagos, said that President Buhari should ensure that Petroleum Ministry runs separately in his second term.

“The office of the President is so big than adding Petroleum Ministry under it. There are lots to be done to make Nigeria independent in refining our products rather than relying on imports,” he said.

On Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Olabode lamented that it had suffered delays over the years.

He said, “This bill, which started as the Oil and Gas Sector Reform Implementation Committee report, has been on for 18 years now since April 2000. It has gone through various stages with the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill at the forefront now.

“We call on the government (both the executive and legislative arms) to ensure that this bill is passed as soon as they settle down in order to have investors’ confidence in our industry.”

He said the bill was being stalled by multinationals who believe that it would not be favourable to them.

Olabode also expressed concern over casualisation, contract staffing and outsourcing in the nation’s oil and gas industry, saying, “We will continue to engage various stakeholders in ensuring that this menace is adequately resolved in the larger interest of our members

He stated that, in order to cut cost, most companies, especially the indigenous ones, had “resorted to underhand tactics in the practice of labour-management relations.                        

“Some of these include prevention of members from unionising, disrespect for signed collective bargaining agreements and intimidation and victimisation of labour union and members,” he said.

He however commended the efforts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in ensuring an adequate supply of the Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).

He said, “We call on the government to intensify efforts at increasing local refining and remove all encumbrances to the full rehabilitation of all the refineries.

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