The Federal Government and key stakeholders in the  oil and gas sector have been urged to accord priority attention to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) outcome especially as it  relates to labour  issues and workers’ welfare.

Speaking to The Tide in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, the  Chairman, PIB Committee of Petroleum  and Natural  Gas Senior  Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Comrade Chika Onuegbu urged the Federal Government  and key stakeholders to give the bill the necessary priority attention as the PIB outcome would  help to strengthen the operations of the oil and gas sector as well as the future of Nigerian workers.

Onuegbu said that the PIB should be carefully examined to ensure that the provisions about  staff  transfers from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other impacted subsidiaries are strictly adhered   to without breaching such provisions in the bill.

He said that the  2012 NUPENG and PENGASSAN Joint National Committee on the PIB had  emphasized  the need to address the shortcoming of  privatisation  on workers in the  post PIB era to ensure that no staff of NNPC loses his  or her  job or be allowed to be transferred on a condition  of service that is less favourable than what they currently have under  any guise.

Onuegbu, who was the  immediate past chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Rivers State chapter, said that the current  PENGASSAN PIB Committee has adopted the previous position of the committee, stressing that the provisions in the PIGIF are better than that of the 2012 PIB.

The labour leader urged the Federal Government to streamline  its plan to change the ownership structure of the establishments in the petroleum sector, including asset sales, divestment and complete handover of its percentages and not to leave behind labour issues that would precipitate  major industrial crisis  within the oil  and gas industry.


Philip Okparaji