The meeting between the National Executive Council, NEC, of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, ended late on Friday in Calabar with the unions declaring their support for the Federal Government’s take-off of full deregulation of the downstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum industry.
In a joint communiqué signed by PENGASSAN President, Francis Johnson, and his NUPENG counterpart, Igwe Achese, both unions noted the benefits of price modulation mechanism introduced early this year, urging government to consult all interest groups to cushion the effect of the new price on the people.
They advised the Federal Government to pay attention to the state of the nation, particularly on issues bordering on unemployment/casualization and redundancy in the oil industry, national security, power, bad roads.
The unions said with the latest development, they would push for a new minimum wage demand of N90, 000.
They equally advised government to make sure that all the four refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna perform optimally, and ensure that machinery be put in place for the construction of new ones.
“The NEC-in-session had an extensive discussion on the recent price modulation and is of the view that price deregulation has its benefits in the immediate and near future,”
“Government should engage with the stakeholders to work out a clear direction on how to reinvest the gains of the policy into the economy to cushion the effect of the price on the people,” they said.
“The price is the secondary issue; the Federal Government has brought up a policy that would stop money from entering into the hands of few individuals,”
“The subsidy removal is a welcome development; we must not mortgage our economy into the hands of few selfish individuals,’’ the workers said.
“With the new pump price of N145 per litre, government must speed up the negotiation process for a new minimum wage of N90, 000 to cushion the effect of the envisaged inflation.
“ As the price of fuel increases, there should also be an increment in workers’ salary as the old minimum wage of N18, 000 has no effect again,’’ the unions stated.
Last Wednesday, the Federal Government announced the take-off of full deregulation of the downstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum industry, increasing petrol price from N86.50 to N145 per litre.