The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), on Friday, said hundreds of investments in the oil and gas sector have been driven away by the growing insecurity in the country.
It warned the federal government not to sell all the refineries to private individuals, urging it to rehabilitate and put them into proper usage.
- PODCAST: As A Nigerian, You Owe The World Bank N24,000
- How Ahmed Joda, others saved Nigeria’s unity – Obasanjo
President of the union, Festus Osifo, who spoke in Abuja during a security awareness campaign, disclosed that many personnel who were the driving force in both the downstream and upstream have been kidnappers.
Osifo expressed dismay over the meagre resources allocated to the police whose responsibility is to maintain internal security, calling on both federal and state governments to wake up to their responsibilities.
“Today, a lot of our personnel have been kidnapped. PENGASSAN is, therefore, calling on the federal and state governments to be alive to their responsibilities. They should fund the police and other security agencies adequately.
”The money they give to police stations to fuel their cars are nothing to write home about.
“Security cost is making foreign direct investments in the oil and gas sector to move,” Osifo lamented.
Speaking further on refinery, the labour leader said, ”PENGASSAN has never advocated for the refineries to be sold.
“What we have always advocated for is that there should be a Public-Private Partnership in such a way that the government will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the refineries.
”Why is the federal government not exploring the possibility of adopting the LNG model where the government holds minority 49 per cent while the private sector will take 51 per cent?
“That model has worked very well. PENGASSAN welcomes the rehabilitation of the refineries.
”Our advocacy, once the rehabilitation work is complete, will be to call on the government to divest from the refineries and allow the private sector to run all of them.
“If we were to sell the refineries the way they are, they will be sold as scraps. If government fix the refineries and then divest, the money that government will get will be reasonable.”
While calling on the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to quickly sign the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Osifo said the host communities could seek a further amendment to the provision of three per cent operating expenditure after the bill has been signed into law.
He said, “The National Assembly is talking about three per cent of operating expenditure. That means the three per cent is relatively constant.
“So, judging where we are coming from, is the three per cent okay? To me, the National Assembly could have done better to a minimum of five per cent. But looking at where we are coming from, it was zero per cent before now, now it is at three per cent.
“For us in PENGASSAN, three per cent of operating expenditure is a good place to start. Let the bill be signed to end the uncertainty that shrouded the petroleum industry.”
In the same vein, the Department of State Services (DSS) during the programme, said security issues were no longer the government’s responsibility alone even though it was its responsibility to provide the security structure.
According to Sanusi Muhammed, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, who spoke on behalf of the DSS, the government must provide those amenities that guarantee security, adding, “once these are in place, struggling for survival among citizens will reduce.
“Community policing is another approach that recognizes the role of the people in ensuring a secured environment.”