PENGASSAN Worried Over Continuous Black Soot In Port Harcourt    

Why We Suspended Nationwide Strike – PENGASSAN

 

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on the Federal Government to stop illegal refineries causing black soot in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital.

The Union says that the soot which is in form of black smoke covers the entire state capital causing respiratory problems being experienced by inhabitants in the city which has health implications worse than Ebola.

PENGASSAN through its spokesman, Fortune Obi, says that the issues are not being addressed because most of the people affected are still performing their daily task but experts have confirmed the soot to be carcinogenic.

“The black soot settles on everything and finds its way into the corners of living rooms no matter how hard people try to stop it. Food items in Port Harcourt markets are as well not spared from getting mixed with this deadly soot that is ever present everywhere,” he stated.

He added that PENGASSAN in collaboration with other concerned bodies and citizens have severally created awareness to call the attention of the government to act swiftly and put an end to whatever is the source of this killer soot.

“Majority believed that the source of this soot is due to ‘’incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons as well as asphalt processing, burning of barges/vessels used for oil bunkering and illegal artisanal refinery operations” in some parts of the state.

“There is a need for collaboration among all stakeholders to end this environmental hazard. We, therefore, call on the State and the Federal Government to put a strategic action in place to finally address this black soot and put an end to whatever is the source.

“This is not the time to play politics with people’s lives. The Federal and State Governments, security agencies as well as all agencies in charge of environment including National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and its Rivers State counterpart, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSRDA), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and other agencies handling related issues should tow a defined and safe path in handling illegal oil vessels as well as the criminal act of illegal refining of crude oil that are said to be the key reason of this menace.

“The governments should also involve the locals and possibly constitute them into Environmental councils to monitor their areas for any possible illegal refining of the crude and such other dangerous acts that are inimical to human existence.”

Mr Obi has called on the Federal Government to arrest those committing these crimes.

PENGASSAN Suspends Nationwide Strike

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has suspended its planned nationwide strike.

The decision to suspend the strike which was planned to commence 11:59 pm today (Monday) followed the intervention of the Director of State Security Service, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu.

PENGASSAN giving reasons for the strike had earlier alleged anti-labour practices against some of its members by some indigenous oil companies.

The management of Neconde Energy Limited after the negotiation with the DSS, the Federal Government represented by the Minister of Labour and Minister of State for Petroleum offered a letter of recall to the sacked employees of the company.

Neconde Energy Limited was represented by its Medical Director and legal consultants. The management also agreed to allow the union to exist in the company.

PENGASSAN National PRO, Fortune Obi who disclosed the decision of the association to suspend the strike to Channels Television on Monday, added that the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, therefore, agreed to endeavor to resolve anti-union posture by other indigenous companies and marginal field operators while a meeting was fixed for the second week of January 2018 to look at the issues.

Why We Suspended Nationwide Strike – PENGASSAN

Why We Suspended Nationwide Strike – PENGASSAN

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has explained the rationale behind the decision to suspend its nationwide strike.

This was contained in a statement issued on Monday by the General Secretary of the union, Mr Lumumba Okugbawa, shortly after a press conference in Abuja.

Okugbawa said PENGASSAN had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government, following the allegations of the anti-union attitude of some companies, as well as the intimidation and dismissal of some of its members.

He said the union, however, suspended the industrial action after the intervention of the Federal Government and the reversal of the decision by the companies.

Read full statement below;

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) issued a seven (7) day ultimatum which expired on Sunday, December 17, 2017, with respect to anti-union posture of indigenous companies and marginal field operators, including Neconde which transferred employees at will and inconsiderably, sacked and intimidated union members.

Despite all entreaties by the association, the management of Neconde was recalcitrant and adamant. As a matter of fact, the union directed its members across zones to embark on a nationwide strike.

Going by the aforementioned, the Honorable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, engaged both the leadership of PENGASSAN and the Neconde management.

The Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, representatives of the NNPC, and representatives of other government agencies were also in attendance.

Neconde management agreed to unconditionally recall the sacked staff and take steps to allow their employees to be members of the union.

It was also agreed at the meeting that the resolutions reached will be reviewed after three months to determine the adherence of Neconde management to the details of the resolution.

The meeting also resolved to address the anti-union posture of other indigenous companies and their abuse of court processes to stall the resolution of issues, including Specialty Drilling Fluid (SDF), CETCO, Century Energy, Oil Data Services, Frontier Oil, Universal Energy, Mobil Producing Nigeria and Fugro by the third week of January 2018, to avert a full-blown industrial crisis and ensure that they abide by the Nigeria Constitution, extant labour laws and ILO conventions.

In view of the above and in the spirit of the yuletide, on behalf of the National Executive Council (NEC) of PENGASSAN, the Central Working Committee (CWC) hereby suspends the nationwide strike with immediate effect and all members are to resume normal duties immediately.

We commend Nigerians for their understanding and continue to promise to act in a morally justified way that will enhance the dignity of labour and reduce unemployment in the country.

Fuel Queues Return Over PENGASSAN’s Nationwide Strike

Just as Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief after fuel supply was restored last week, fuel queues are back to petrol stations in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos and other parts of the country.

This is following the strike action declared by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) last week after the group threatened to embark on an indefinite strike beginning from 11:59 pm today (Monday).

READ ALSO: $1billion Terrorism Fund: Gbajabiamila Says Excess Crude Account Does Not Belong To FG

The union’s action follows the expiration of an ultimatum it gave to the Federal Government to address issues which they consider detrimental to the welfare of their members.

In a statement last week, PENGASSAN ordered the shutting down of all oil and gas installations, resulting in the disruptions to fuel supply and distribution across the country.

PENGASSAN giving reasons for the strike action alleged anti-labour practices against some of its members by some indigenous oil companies.

Other reasons include the alleged sack of workers by one of the oil companies due to their involvement in union activities and non-remittance of workers’ taxes to the PFAs by the same company.

PENGASSAN’s spokesman, Fortune Obi, told Channels Television that the strike became inevitable following the failure of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, to resolve the industrial dispute.

Last week, many woke up to long queues at petrol stations in some cities across Nigeria, with the Independent Marketers and the NNPC trading blame on the cause of the fuel scarcity.

This week, the long queues persist as the PENGASSAN nationwide strike commences.

NASS Must Reject Sale Of Petroleum Assets – PENGASSAN

NASS Must Reject Sale Of Petroleum Assets – PENGASSAN
File photo

 

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has asked the National Assembly to reject the sale of profitable oil and gas assets by the Federal Government to fund the 2018 budget.

PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Fortune Obi, on Wednesday said a majority of Nigerians rejected the idea when it was first proposed in 2016.

Obi, who was reacting to a report on the revealed plans by the government to give up the nation’s possessions as a panacea to fix the budget, said the union was in support of any other model to fund the budget.

He added that selling petroleum assets as scrap was not in the national interest and called on the legislature to reject the plan.

Obi also described the move as a ploy to hand over “our collective commonwealth to a few individuals and further impoverish majority of Nigerians.”

He, however, advised that instead of selling the assets, government should look for other ways of funding the budget such as plugging loopholes and leakages in its finances.

“We will not allow the commonwealth of the country to be given away to cronies of the government all in the name of the sale of the assets in the industry to fund the budget.

“The Government should critically evaluate the assets to look at their viability and profitability. Profitable assets, such as such as NLNG and shares in the Upstream Oil and Gas JV Operations, that has become a huge revenue earner for the country, should be kept by the government to the benefit of the Nigerian majority.

“We also advise the government to endeavour to repair assets that are in the state of disrepair but not to sell them as scrap to some opportunists in the clothes of businessmen and short-sighted politicians,” he said.

The PENGASSAN spokesman maintained that the idea does not reflect the national agenda, stressing that “no nation can develop, survive or feel secure after selling all its national assets.”

PENGASSAN Supports Senate’s Probe Of NNPC Over Kachikwu’s Allegations

Oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have said they are in support of Senate’s decision to investigate the allegations made by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu in a letter written to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The workers in a statement on Monday also warned that they will stop non-executive officials from using top management positions in the national oil company to settle cronies at the detriment of it staff.

The statement which was signed by the Group Secretary of the Group Executive Council (GEC) of PENGASSAN in NNPC, Sulaiman Sulaiman said Nigerians including the NNPC are waiting to hear the outcome of the investigations.

“They, therefore, supported the decision of the Senate to thoroughly investigate the allegations in the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu against the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru on the awards of the $25billion contracts and new appointments in the national oil company, adding that Nigerians will be waiting to hear the outcome of these sensitive investigations.”

READ ALSO: Senator Asks Buhari To Step Down As Petroleum Minister

The oil workers in the statement also vowed to resist the attempt by officials who are not designated for the administration of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to meddle with the affairs of the association.

“We shall continue to vehemently resist attempts in meddling into day-to-day running of the organization by non-executive officials of the Corporation.

“Problems will continue to occur as long as the Chairman of the Board will continue to meddle into day-to-day running of the organizations, which is a Management role. Any attempt to allow this to happen will spell doom for the country and create a window for abuse,” the statement read in part.

According to the workers, contrary to claim in the letter written by Kachikwu to the President, staffs are no longer afraid to talk or express their opinion, especially with the domestication of whistleblowing policy and re-constitution and launching of the Anti-Corruption Committee by the current GMD.
“In terms of workplace harmony, NNPC has enjoyed the best industrial atmosphere under the present Top Management of NNPC. So far there is zero record of industrial crisis or shutdown, which is the first of its kind in the history of struggle in oil and gas in Nigeria. Thanks to the efforts of the current GMD and the GED Corporate Services,” they said.

 

PENGASSAN Asks FG To Pay Oil Marketers ‘N720bn Debt’

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on the Federal Government to pay all debts owed oil marketers to avert job losses and promote the growth of the oil and gas industry.

PENGASSAN made the call in reaction to the threat by the marketers to embark on the retrenchment of their employees if the government refused to settle the over N720 billion subsidy arrears.

“The debts, according to the marketers, was the outstanding subsidy owed on the importation of petroleum products, accrued interest on loans from banks and exchange rate differential, which made them to halt importation of refined petroleum products leaving only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) doing the business,” PENGASSAN said in a statement by its National Public Relations Officer, Fortune Obi.

According to it, if the government is genuinely interested in the growth of the downstream sector and wants to attract more investments in the sector, then it should pay the debts owed the marketers.

In order to make the payments, the association expects the Federal Governor to verify the
authenticity of the claims by the oil marketers.

“The government should try to separate the genuine claims by the importers from spurious one and pay them because we will not like to be engulfed in the mistakes of the past where briefcase marketers milked the nation through dubious subsidy claims,” it said.

“A situation where the workers in the industry bear the inability of the government to honour its obligations as part of the importation deal will be unfair and unacceptable to our Association. This is against the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s major policy of job creation.”

The union added that although it would support moves by the government to “to end subsidy regime and spurious claims by the marketers” it was worried about the impact the non-payment of the payment would have on the industry.
For instance, it said in the last five years, the workforce in the downstream sector, especially the marketing subsector had been depleted by over 70 percent.

“Most of them were thrown to the already over-bloated labour market.”

FG, NUPENG, PENGASSAN To Convene In Abuja

FG, NUPENG, PENGASSAN To Convene In AbujaMinister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, is expected to meet today with the leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association Of Nigeria, (PENGASSAN).

The meeting is expected to trash out disagreement between the unionist and oil companies over staff welfare.

The federal government is mediating on the matter as it did in 2016.

After Wednesday’s meeting, it would then be determined whether to proceed on the strike action as a follow up to the three-day warning notice earlier issued by the union.

FG Will Sustain Petroleum Products Pricing Template – Kachikwu

Petroleum Products Pricing Template, Ibe KachikwuNigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, says the Federal Government will work to maintain the new petroleum products pricing template which pegs the price of petrol between 135 and 145 Naira per litre.

The Minister said that the government is presently unable to consider fixing a new price for petrol without considering some of the market variables that gave rise to the current petroleum pricing template.

He made the remarks in Abuja on the sideline of an event organised by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) as well as the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).

“Obviously as you look at foreign exchange differentiation, it will impact and the worst thing you could do is to go back to the era when we unilaterally fix prices.

“What we’ve also been doing is to watch the prices and make sure that they do not take advantage of the common man, making sure the template is maintained,” Kachikwu told the gathering.

In her remarks, the acting Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Sotonye Iyoyo, explained how the new petroleum products pricing template has stabilised products distribution in Nigeria.

“The appropriate pricing framework policy put in place by the Minister for Petroleum Resources in May 11, 2016 has gone a long way in achieving key deregulatory pre-conditions such as full cost recovery, free entrance and free exit of players.

“Global competitive product pricing policy, limited government intervention and control of pricing (as well as) distribution and creation of the enabling environment attracts private sector capital,” she stated.

On his part, PENGASSAN President, Francis Johnson, expressed satisfaction with the new pricing template.

He, however, appealed to the legislature to quickly pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law to address other issues in the sector.

“We want to commend and also advise that the National Assembly should see how they can pass this bill (PIB).

“It’s very important that we have that bill because it’s the legal framework and when we also have the bill passed into law, definitely the issue of pipeline vandalism and so many issues embedded in the industry will also be taken care of so that we can know that yes, the industry is moving forward,” he said.

Labour Union Kicks Against Proposed Sale Of Some National Assess

Issa Aremu on sale of National AssetsA National Executive member of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Issa Aremu, has kicked against the plan by the Federal Government to sell some national assets to finance the country out of economic recession.

Mr Aremu, in a press statement on Monday, cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against what he called “feverish prescriptions of few economic hit men”.

He claimed that the ‘hit men’, contrary to the spirit and content of the 1999 constitution, deliberately undermine national development through recommendations that would strip the nation of its critical assets.

The labour leader argued that Nigeria was not short of resources, but only lacked “genuine resourceful leaders at all levels that were committed to nation building.

Mr Aremu pointed out that the country would further slide into underdevelopment if the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Company which paid the sum of $1.289 billion as dividends for 2013 was sold to the highest bidder for another easy money.

He also commended the economic patriotism of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) for rising in defence of retention of critical national assets such as NLNG.

While calling on the nation’s ruling and economic elite to enunciate big development plans and think outside the box of easy monies to spend, Mr Aremu, however, advocated a bipartisan approach on the economy to include labour and industry.

A leading union of oil workers had on Sunday threatened to shut down the country if the Federal Government carries out the plan to sell some national assets as a way out of the current economic recession.

The oil workers under the aegis of The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), described the plan to sell the national assets as a self-destructive move.

In a statement, PENGASSAN said that the plan, which would solve short term financial obligations, was really aimed at handing over Nigeria’s collective common wealth to a few individuals.

Fiscal Stimulus Plan

On Saturday, Nigeria’s Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said that the primary objective of government’s fiscal stimulus plan was not to sell off all major critical national assets but to source immediate funds to reflate the economy and implement capital projects in the 2016 budget.

Senator Udoma gave the explanation in Lagos while briefing reporters on the forthcoming Nigerian Economic Summit.

He said the intention of the government was just to get enough money to fund the 2016 budget and get the economy back on the path of recovery.

According to him,  the government needed to inject a large dose of funds into the system to get the economy back on track and to faithfully implement the provisions in the capital budget tailored at reflating the economy and aiding the diversification process.

Senator Udoma further explained that Nigeria had lost almost half its expected revenue and would need to urgently source for the shortfall to enable the government faithfully implement the budget.

“This unfortunate scenario prompted the Economic Management Team to urgently work out a fiscal stimulus plan to generate immediate large injection of funds into the economy through asset sales, advance payment for license rounds, infrastructure concessioning, use of recovered funds, among others, to reduce the funding gap.

“The other option would have been to source for additional loans, beyond the level of borrowing already projected for in the 2016 Budget.

“This would not be a wise option as it would raise the level of debt service to an unsustainable level.” a statement by the Minister’s spokesman, Akpandem James, read.

PENGASSAN Threatens Strike Over National Assets Sale

PEngassan, assets saleA leading union of oil workers has threatened to shut down the country if the federal government carries out the plan to sell national assets as a way out of the current economic recession.

The oil workers under the aegis of The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), described the plan to sell the national assets as a self-destructive move.

In a statement, PENGASSAN said that the plan, which is to solve short term financial obligations, is really aimed at handing over Nigeria’s collective common wealth to a few individuals.

The union is asking the federal government to instead look for other ways of increasing the revenue base of the country, while plugging loopholes and leakages in government’s finances.

PENGASSAN, NUPENG Suspend Strike

NUPENG, Rivers StateThe Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have suspended their strike after a meeting with the Federal Government on Wednesday.

The meeting which ended at 1am was attended by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, the oil unions and international companies.

They discussed issues on job security, causalisation of workers and improved welfare.

Dr Ngige appealed to the companies not to lay off workers as government is trying to make the environment more conducive for their businesses.

There had been disputes over the implementation of the 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the federal government and the unions, the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Bill and the state under which the oil workers operate, especially the lack of power and bad roads.

The PENGASSAN had last week declared an industrial action over the dispute, while NUPENG postponed its action pending the outcome of this meeting.