The Federal Government of Nigeria has been given a 21-day ultimatum to reconsider its oil policies and plans otherwise face a comprehensive and significant strike action by oil and gas workers.
The Nigerian government has been condemned for its hasty pronouncement on the total deregulation and planned privatisation of its national refineries, its reluctance in passing the Petroleum Industry Bill into law, its unwillingness to implement the approved Oil and Gas Implementation Committee, and the lack of adequate security in the Niger Delta.
A proposed meeting between Nigeria’s labour leaders and officials of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources was stalled as the labour leaders expressed their discontentment with the decision made by the government to allow a more inclusive stakeholders’ role under the authority of the Presidential Steering Committee on the Global Economic Crisis.
According to senator Emmanuel Paulker, Chairman of the senate committee on petroleum, “The central responsibility of any government is to improve the welfare of the citizen. Therefore any policy on regulation or deregulation should be carefully crafted and targeted at fulfilling this responsibility. It was apparent that the deregulation policy was based on the recommendation of the Presidential Steering Committee on the Global Financial Crisis.
The General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. John Odah, said the Labour Congress had decided to fix a meeting involving all its branches; the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to articulate a comprehensive response to the government position.
Addressing the case made by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria yesterday, Mr. Paulker called on all stakeholders to tread with caution and avoid taking rigid positions in this obviously sensitive matter, as dialogue remains the only option for arriving at a resolution.
“Our opinion is that we have to go with the global tradition and best practices in the sourcing, distribution and sale of petroleum products by allowing market forces to prevail in a well-supervised and legally enriched operational environment. It is therefore imperative that any policy of the government affecting this sensitive aspect of our lives should be handled with caution,” he added.