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NUPENG seeks robust policies for oil, gas sector



Igwe Achese,

OIL Workers under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) have called on the incoming government of General Muhammed Buhari to bring to bear policies that will bring back the glory of Nigeria as an oil producing nation.

Specifically the workers urged the government to swing into action once sworn-in, by ensuring that issues associated with importation of oil products are totally eradicated.

NUPENG President, Igwe Achese, in a chat with journalists in Lagos, maintained that this could only be achieved by reviving the nation’s existing refineries, while arrangements should be put in place to build new ones.

Achese equally implored the outgoing National Assembly to pass the protracted Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), before its tenure lapses in June. While setting agenda for the incoming administration, he said welfare of workers in the nation’s oil and gas sector must at all times be protected by the government.

Besides, he emphasized that the government must ensure that employers of labour in the industry conform to international accepted standards at all times.

“Issues on casualization in the country must be properly looked into to ensure workers are not cheated by employers. “The menace is rather on the increase especially in the oil and gas and financial sectors of the nation’s economy.

We believe that the new government of Muhammed Buhari must adequately look into that as well cases of divestment programmes by oil companies, where workers’ interest are not adequately catered for,” Achese said.

He also postulated that the government must ensure the safety of the nation’s pipelines network to reduce haulage of products by roads with its negative consequences. While pledging the union’s commitment to the new government, he called for the reconstitution of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA)’s board so as to ensure transparency in the sector.

Other expectations of the union from the incoming government includes, the security of pipelines and blocking of avenues used for siphoning crudes and finished products as well as rehabilitation of roads leading to refineries and depots across the country. “Government must ensure job security in the sector, as the cardinal programme of the party is job creation.

The four refineries must be rehabilitated and new ones established to end or reduce massive importation of petroleum products into the country.

“Government must also protect the nation’s pipelines from vandals because if the pipelines are effectively protected with product depots scattered across the country, products will move through the pipelines to all the major depots across the country and this will reduce the pressures on our roads with its consequences such as road accidents and gridlocks especially in Lagos that has been creating untold hardships for citizens.

The government must also rehabilitate and expand all the access roads to the refineries.” He said. Achese further urged the incoming government to ensure that the template for the revamping of the oil and gas sector as conceived by the outgoing government is looked into. On security, he said all hands must be on deck to tackle the issue, especially the onslaught by Boko Haram on innocent Nigerians.

To this end, he applauded the efforts put in place by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the just concluded elections, adding that, there was still need for improvement.

“NUPENG commends the way and manner with, which INEC conducted the just concluded elections in the country. Though there were pockets of violence, we hope that in the nearest future, Nigerians can vote anywhere they are, instead of having to move from one place to the other. We hope that INEC will improve on this feat by ensuring that all our votes count in future elections,” Achese said.

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