Petroleum Sector To Plunge Into Crises As Oil Workers Set To Shut Industry

Yemisi Izuora

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association, PENGASSAN, and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers,,NUPENG, on Thursday threatened to shut down all oil operations this Sunday if the Federal Government failed to pay their salaries on yesterday Friday.

The oil workers, who had embarked on a peaceful warning protest since Wednesday, issued the threat when they gathered at the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun.

The PENGASSAN, on Thursday, offered reasons why its members in agencies under the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources should not be enrolled on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.

The union invited the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, to note the reasons and advice the Accountant-General of the Federation and Minister of Finance appropriately on the need for the exemption.

In the notice to Ngige, signed by the General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, which was made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday, the association insisted that five agencies of the FMPR should be exempted from IPPIS.

It listed the agencies to include the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, the Petroleum Training Institute, and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund.

It said, “DPR, PPPRA and the other agencies under the FMPR superintend the entire spectrum of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and by implication maintains physical presence in all oil and gas as installations and services.

“This tie their terms and conditions to the dynamic and complex operations of the oil and gas industry. The DPR operates the same conditions of service with NNPC and run same laudable and robust payroll system. The parameters of this payroll system would not fit into the IPPIS template.”

It argued that NNPC and DPR also operated the same closed pension scheme, which implied that they had common assets and liabilities.

According to the association, staff of the agencies at various zonal offices run multi-purpose cooperative societies that were registered under various state ministries of agriculture and cooperatives.

It argued that the cooperatives had certain financial obligations to fulfill which would be impossible once the department migrates to the IPPIS.

Addressing the protesting workers, the Vice Chairman, Warri Zonal Council of PENGASSAN and Secretary of Regulators Forum, Prince Audu Oshiokhamele, warned that “if the salaries are not released by Friday, then all oil operations will be shut down by midnight of Sunday”.

He said, “We are surprised that the Ministry of Finance, on Wednesday, denied that they are not aware that our salaries have been stopped, while they are making every effort to see how they can placate the union.”

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