FG set to resolve fuel, PHCN, labour crisis this week-Okupe

Channels Television  
Updated August 20, 2012

The Federal Government has made clear its intention to resolve the lingering crises with the different union of workers threatening to embark on industrial action, before the week ends.

Abuja is already witnessing days of fuel scarcity with residents now resorting to black market.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), is leading the threat to embark on a nationwide strike over the severance package of Nigerian Union of Electrical Employees (NUEE) with the on-going privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. The electricity workers threatened to shut down the nation’s power grid in their protest.

Also the union of oil marketers and the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) are also on the brink of ceasing the supply of fuel to the nation’s economy over the delay in payment of fuel subsidies. The Federal Capital territory is already witnessing days of fuel scarcity with residents now resorting to black market.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Dr Doyin Okupe on Monday, stated that the Federal Government “is making serious and intense efforts at averting what may seem to be a looming industrial crises involving NUPENG, oil marketers, PHCN staff and the NLC.”

According to Dr. Okupe, “The approach taken by government at resolving this crisis is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional.”

He further explained that the Ministers of Labour, Power, and other Federal Government officials met with the aggrieved PHCN workers and “virtually all their demands have been agreed upon except for the issue of severance benefits of workers” he claimed.

He however noted that “While the workers (PHCN) insist on their terms of employment, government’s proposition is based on the Pension Act of 2004. However, this matter will most probably be resolved favourably within the coming week by the Presidency.”

Dr. Okupe also stated that, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance minister, Dr. Ngozi  Okonjo – Iweala has shifted  her base temporarily to Lagos, in spite of the Sallah holidays, where she has been engaged intensively also with the aggrieved oil marketers , union members and other stakeholders in the downstream sector.

“All indications are to the effect that favourable resolutions are being reached and all matters are likely to be resolved within this week” he stated.

Dr Okupe on behalf of the Federal Government, therefore “Urged Nigerians to be calm, as all hands are on deck to ensure that normalcy returns soonest”.