The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has said that it will move against the Federal Government’s planned sale of the nation’s four refineries next year, insisting that selling the refineries is not the solution to importation of refined petroleum products, but the building of more refineries.
The union, in a statement by its General Secretary, Isaac Aberare, wondered why government would suddenly wake up to talk about selling the public refineries in 2014, warning that any decision on the refineries without the involvement of NUPENG and its Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, counterpart, would be resisted with everything at labour’s disposal.
The union said it “is worried about the sudden proposal by the Federal Government to sell the nation’s refineries, stressing that caution must be exercised as all the stakeholders must be involved, if the plan will see the light of day.
NUPENG states that the sale of the refineries is not the solution to the massive importation of petroleum products into the country but the problem is government’s blunt refusal to do the Turn-Around-Maintenance of these refineries over the years to make them function optimally.
“We stress that a lot of intrigues, power play, selfish interest to protect the cabal importing fuel had come to play, leaving the equipment in the refineries to rot away,” the union said.
The union argued that the nation’s refineries were organizations in the commanding height of the nation’s economy which should remain in the control of government for security and strategic reasons and should not be allowed to be sold to government cronies and front men, as it had happened in the power sector.
According to the statement, “NUPENG is of the belief that more refineries should be established, in the model of the NLNG strategic partnering and more investors given tax holidays and land to enable them construct new ones just like the initiative of the Dangote refinery instead of trying to sell the nation’s assets as scraps.”