- NUPENG calls for protection of staff welfare
By Emmanuel Addeh
The Minister of State, Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, Thursday disclosed that to ensure the smooth implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the federal government is reorganising staff deployed from the defunct agencies to ensure their proper fit for tasks assigned.
By the new law, employees of the scrapped Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) are to be absorbed by both the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC) and the Midstream/Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (MDPRA).
Also included among the defunct agencies whose staff will be redeployed in the two succeeding organisations are those of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Speaking at the 5th Quadrennial Branch Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), DPR branch, in Abuja, Sylva stated that everybody will be carried along in the process to maintain the existing industrial harmony.
Represented by the Director, Human Resources Management, at the Ministry of Petroleum, Dr. Famous Eseduwo, the minister enjoined the unions to cooperate with the government to ensure the success of the PIA implementation.
“As we speak, efforts towards staff reorganisation are in top gear, in line with the legal framework of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). I am sure that NUPENG and PENGASSAN are to be represented in the process so that there will be no stone left unturned.
“PIA has brought about enormous changes in the industry that will attract investment in the sector and the sincere support of your members is inevitable for a seamless implementation of the act. I enjoin the incoming leadership to participate in the process of implementing the PIA to sustain the existing industrial harmony,” he stressed.
The minister further urged the union to ensure that its ongoing elections are conducted in line with its constitution to ensure a free, fair and credible process.
The Chief Executive Officer of the new NURC, Mr Gbenga Komolafe, in his remarks, called on members of the union to redouble their efforts in the country’s bid to increase crude oil production and attract higher revenues, disclosing that he would rely on the activities of members of the union to achieve the goal.
“I am a comrade at heart and I am a democrat. Human resource is the most important factor in production. You are critical to the success of the industry, especially in the light of the projected deliverables in the PIA. It cannot be achieved without you.
“The implementation of the PIA has commenced smoothly and on our part, we shall do everything to ensure industrial peace and harmony. So, we solicit your support. We are coming in at a critical time in the nation’s history and in the industry, especially when we look at the energy transition.
“We will continue to work together and one of the first things I have done is to set up work teams, one of which is about staff matters and that underscores the importance we place on our staff. We will continue to engage, be fair and just and ensure matters pertaining to your welfare is taken seriously,” he said.
The National President of NUPENG, Williams Akporeha, who was represented at the event by the National Auditor of the body, Thompson Ogbodo, stressed that the struggle to pass the PIA took about 20 years, noting however that any attempt to hijack the implementation process, to the disadvantage of the working people, will be resisted.
“The union will not leave you or abandon you and we will stand by you and defend your interest as things evolve and unfold. We are gearing up for the second phase of the struggle,” Ogbodo said.
He said NUPENG and PENGASSAN had already set up a six-man committee to monitor the implementation of the PIA to the letter, adding that there must be transparency in the implementation process.
Also, the Branch Chairman, Isah Idris, in his remarks, insisted that there should be no job losses, urging the authorities to ensure that staff welfare is maintained.
He noted, however, that although there may be movement of staff from one department to another, what is paramount is that nobody is treated shabbily.