Fuel scarcity looms across the country from Monday, as two key unions in the petroleum industry – the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association ,PENGASSAN, and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, are said to be considering down-tooling their services. PREMIUM TIMES in a report, on Sunday, said the decision by unions was sequel to the expiration given the Federal Government to address issues affecting their members, and operations within the petroleum industry. The newspapers quoted an unnamed national officer of PENGASSAN, who mentioned the sack of the PENGASSAN zonal Secretary in Port Harcourt by the management of Total Nigeria, and non-promotion of workers of the Petroleum Trust Development Fund, PTDF, by its management, as part of their reasons for wanting to embark on the strike.
Also, the unions are aggrieved that two years after the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was sent to the National Assembly, the legislators have not considered and passed the bill into law.
“We (the oil workers) have sufficient reasons, based on information available to us, to believe that the law makers are not prepared to pass the law, even as the state of the country’s petroleum industry has continued to deteriorate as a result of the absence of a regulatory and legal framework for the industry,” the official was quoted in the report as saying.
The said official, the paper said, claimed the unions had an information that the Senate upon its resumption this week would defer debate on the bill till the next legislative session. The official raised concerns about the non-passage of the bill, stating it would deprive the country of new investments to the advantage of other oil producing nations. The official added that they have fresh information on the Federal Government’s plans to go ahead with the sale of the country’s four refineries despite stiff resistance from Nigerians.