The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas, NUPENG, has said that it would resist plans by the Federal Government to privatise the country’s refineries.
The union’s President, Achese Igwe, in a statement, said that “NUPENG takes serious exception to the comments made by the Minister of Petroleum resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke that the nation’s refineries must be privatised.
“The minister’s comments are uncalled for, unnecessary and a mere diversion to the failure of the ministry to address the perennial problem of scarcity of petroleum products currently being experienced in the country.
“NUPENG will resist any attempt by the Federal Government to go back on agreement signed with the unions on January 7, 2014 in Abuja that the nation’s refineries will not be privatised.”
It said in a Memorandum of Understanding reached at that meeting, the two trade unions in the oil and gas sector, NUPENG and PENGASSAN agreed with the Federal Government to engage in social dialogue to develop viable and workable business models for the nation’s refineries.
The statement added, “The union makes bold to say that billions of naira had been budgeted and purportedly spent on the Turn-Around-Maintenance of the refineries with nothing to show for it.
“We state that the refineries must be rehabilitated to work optimally which will account for at least 70 per cent of domestic production, instead of selling the nation’s strategic assets.”
The union said the minister should concentrate more on how the Petroleum Industry Bill would be passed so that the oil and gas market would be opened up to enable investors to establish more refineries and those already given licences to come on stream.