President of PENGASSAN, Babatunde Ogun
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have vowed to oppose the Federal Government if it uses harsh methods to enact the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) or make the law draconian.
President of PENGASSAN, Babatunde Ogun, made the union’s position known yesterday, at the Oil Workers’ Workshop on PIB organised by PENGASSAN and NUPENG in Calabar, the Cross River State capital. He said the bill for now had some shortcomings that should be addressed before it was passed into law.
He said the workshop was organised for members of the two unions and stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, to look at the Bill critically and proffer solutions on the best way to go about it.
“Every Nigerian solidly believes that there is need for change, currently as we speak, we are engaging every stakeholder. The Bill as it is today has some challenges that we believe that as unions and stakeholders in the oil and gas, who need to add value to the government affairs, should look at it critically, he said.
“We must not use draconian law to pass the Bill, that is why the unions are saying, let us engage government, bring all stakeholders to look at it and see what happens internationally. As oil and gas workers, we strongly believe that Nigerians must not be shortchanged and that there should be conducive environment for the investors,” he said.
Ogun said the workshop would look to see how powers were given to either the President or the Minister of Petroleum and find out whether the powers were over bearing, adding that they would ensure that whatever happens in the oil and gas industry remains transparent not to favour some individuals.
He advised the President not to wield much power on oil and gas, when there is a Minister of Petroleum.
A facilitator of the workshop and research fellow with the Centre for Public Policy, Dr. Olufemi Olorewaju, had said the importance of the PIB should not be under estimated and that the workshop sought to look at the contents of the bill and see where the challenges lie so as to proffer solutions.
The Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Efiok Cobham, who declared the workshop open, said the new PIB as recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), represented an important document in the management and operation of the nation’s oil and gas industry.
“The draft bill which was harmonised from different versions of the bill by the special PIB taskforce presents a significant window of opportunity to further redress decades of mismanagement of the oil and gas sector which has impoverished Nigerians rather than being a blessing,” he added.