Williams Anuku Abuja
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has lamented the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on its members saying majority of it members are out of job, while others are threatened with option of receiving half salaries.
Outgoing President of PENGASSAN, Ndukaku Ohaeri who spoke at the 6th Triennial National Delegates’ Conference of the Association in Abuja on Thursday, called on the government and stakeholders to come up with new strategies to tackle emerging challenges arising from the pandemic.
, “The journey has not been easy, especially with the sudden outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of our members are out of job as I speak, while many others are threatened with half salary and unpopular workplace policies as employers struggle to keep their business afloat, what a bleak future,” Ohaeri said.
While making allusions to the theme of the conference: “Future of Work, Post Pandemic and Energy Transition”, the PENGASSAN president said government must begin to explore ways through which steady growth of Gross Domestic Product GDP could be sustained, while strengthening fiscal and monetary policies.
Ohaeri said while the nation grapples with structural imbalance, corruption, weak human capital development, inequality, security constraints all of which were culminating factors of over dependence on oil as sole revenue earner, government must roll out a coordinated response towards divestment from some public agencies to allow for private sector participation and freeing up resources for key areas of need.
He also urged the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, (PIB) saying the nation was losing huge resources that should have been acruing to it, especially in the hydrocarbon industry.
“According to the World Health Organisation, the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the world economy harder than any incident since the World War 2, and will have a lasting effect on energy demand world-wide.
“The current state of our economy is of great concern to us as we had hoped to see steady growth in our GDP, increase access to employment for our teaming population and diversification of the economy but unfortunately, we are Q to achieve that.
“Poor implementation of both fiscal and monetary policies and policy inconsistencies has continued to militate against our projected growth and development as a nation.
“With the ‘new normal’ occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative for a holistic review of some of our policies with the aim improving our ease of doing business ratings, providing more clarity and flexibility, introduction of tax waivers, transparency in governance among others, “Ohaeri suggested.
On the PIB, PENGASSAN stated,” We encourage the National Assembly to resolve the challenges that have characterised the non passage of the PIB in the past. Its non-passage has denied Nigeria lots of benefits that could have accrued to it from the hydrocarbon industry.
“It beats our imagination that many countries that started this same process of legislation for their oil and gas industry behind Nigeria have completed same and now savouring the taste of the exercise”.
The event which will culminate in the election of a substantive national President for the union, had in attendance the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources,Timipre Sylva, the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation NNPC, Mele Kyari among other top dignitaries gracing the occasion.