The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on the Federal Government to settle all debts allegedly owed oil marketers to avert job losses.
The union said it believed that the payment would engender growth of not only the downstream sector, but all sectors in the industry and develop the economy.
The senior staff trade union made the call against the backdrop of the threat by the marketers to embark on massive retrenchment of their employees, if the government refuses settle the over N720 billion subsidy arrears.
The debts, according to the marketers, are among the outstanding subsidy owed importers of petroleum products, accrued interest on loans from banks and exchange rate differentials, which made them halt importation of refined petroleum products, leaving only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as sole importers.
“The government should try to separate the genuine claims by the importers from spurious ones and pay them accordingly because we will not like to be engulfed in the mistakes of the past where briefcase marketers milked the nation through dubious subsidy claims.
“A situation where the workers in the industry bear the brunt of the government failure 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,” Obi said.
He said as much as PENGASSAN would support any move by the government to end subsidy regime and spurious claims by the marketers, it was also canvassing the payment of debts that could hinder the downstream sector’s growth and attract investments into the sector.
Obi noted that in the last five years, workforce in the downstream sector, especially the marketing sub sector, depleted by over 70 per cent, adding: “most of them were thrown into the already over-bloated labour market.”topics from