Fuel Scarcity Looms As NUPENG, PENGASSAN’s Strike Enter Day 3

stationsNigerians, in the next few days, may be embarrassed by another petroleum products scarcity, if urgent and workable steps are not taken in ending the industrial action by oil workers union.

As the strike entered day three today (Thursday), daily average fuel supply, especially, Premium Motor Spirit, (fuel) has dropped by over 36 million litres. Long queues of trucks have also returned along NNPC depots in Ejigbo and Mosimi fuel depots with tanker drivers waiting for hours to lift petroleum products.

On Tuesday, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and its junior counterpart, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, urged its members to embark on indefinite sympathy strike with their colleagues in the NNPC.

NNPC workers are demanding for the ratification of issues which border on pensions management.

It would be recalled that NNPC pension scheme license was revoked by the National Pensions Commission, PENCOM, over an alleged inability to bridge it funding gap of about N85 billion.

The NNPC has been running a closed pension scheme without regulation as spelt out in the Pension Reform Act, PRA.

Part of the unions’ demands leading to the strike, is for NNPC to be allowed to run its workers pension exclusively like other institutions, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

PENCOM in another letter issued to the corporation insisted on total compliance with the directive by using a 12-month window as granted, to wind down and “immediately take all necessary steps and migrate to the Contributory Pension Scheme under the PRA.”

NNPC management says it is dialoguing with PENCOM with a view to ending the issue.

Since the commencement of the scheme in 2006, NNPC noted that the management and staff had made frantic efforts to bridge the funding gaps in the scheme, which stands at N85 billion as at June 2014, down from a deficit level of about N298 billion in 2010.

The three days strike has threatened NNPC operations nationwide and worst scenario may be expected in a fewconfront Nigerians if it persists.

Mr. Babatunde Oke, Media Officer to PENGASSAN, said yesterday that the strike would continue until the union extracted firm commitment from the NNPC on the issues at stake. He explained that the unions were also demanding for regular funding of the closed pension system, immediate steps to carry out turn around maintenance, TAM, on the four refineries as agreed between government and the two unions; as well as the restoration of crude supply to the refineries.

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