PENGASSAN Chides National Assembly over Delay in Passage of PIB, Challenges of Insecurity
By Barth Ndego
LAGOS OCTOBER 27TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The Leadership of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Wednesday in Asaba, Delta State capital chided National Assembly for what it described as unnecessary delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), alleging that the delay had been causing many havoc in the oil industry.
Its that the non-passage of the PIB will stall the holding of licensing bid rounds for oil processing lease (OPL) and mining license (OMLS), the president of the Union, Comrade Olabode Johnson, disclosed that the licensing bid rounds had been on the hold since 2013, as some of these OPLS and OMLS have expired.
He said,”The inability to hold the licensing bid rounds will definitely impact on jobs in the industry, our great Association will soon evolve other methods of engaging the Executive and National Assembly to get the PIB passed as soon as possible because it is expedient to note that the nation loses hundreds of millions of dollars to the continued delay of the passageâ€.
PENGASSAN President represented by the Lagos state branch chairman, Comrade Abel Agali at a workshop organized by the union, stressed the need for the union members to reflect on the high level of insecurity and challenges facing them in the performance of their duties, and appealed to the Niger-Delta Avengers Militant Group to co-operate with the federal government and embrace the peaceful initiative as means of resolving their grievances.
According to him,”The resurgence of attacks on oil and gas installations is not about our countrys economic alone but also dwells on damage done to our environment which negatively affects the well being and health of our people living in communities where installations are damaged.
Expectedly, PENGASSAN kick-started a 3-day workshop on industrial relations practice and collective bargaining system among social partners in the prevailing circumstance in the oil and gas sector yesterday in Asaba with the theme; Strategies for mutuality acceptance outcome.
Comrade Olabode Johnson expressing dismay at the rate at which managements refuse to honour collective agreements reached among stakeholders in the oil industry, said the refusal act calls for caution, especially at the level of disobedience to directives from the federal government such as the high level authority of the Honourable Ministry of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the implementation of collectively reached agreements by managements.
He explained that most management often foot drag in the agreement thereby using time wasting tactics in order to deliberately frustrate the industrial relations process to peaceful resolution of issues, adding, “We therefore require openness and transparency in order to build trust and confidence in one another.
In his address, Comrade Stephen Ekakite PENGASSAN Warri Zonal Chairman, said the workshop was organized to expose the role of employers and labour in nation building, especially as it was designed for management staff in the oil and gas industry. He said that apart from the exposure between employers and labour in the nation building, the workshop would reached agreement as a way of curtailing the undue process of dispute resolution, foster a better understanding and enduring relationship among the key industrial and labour relation players.
On his part, the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, represented by the Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Mr. Mofe Pirah, while declaring the workshop open urged the labour union relationship to carry everybody on board in the collective bargaining process as a guarantee that the workers will abide by all the decisions reached.
Saying that rank and file of the workers must be given the opportunity to air their views on issues relating to their employment, welfare, reward patterns and general working conditions, Governor Okowa explained that for effective collective bargaining, leaders of the labour unions must try as much as possible not to have an adversarial disposition towards the management as well as see themselves as stakeholders in the business as against the use and dump them mentality.
According to the Governor,”In making their demands, Labour Leadership must also take into cognizance the prevailing economic situation in the country to gain the trust and confidence of management.
Meanwhile, the state government wants to see lasting industrial peace and harmony which creates the enabling environment for investment, economic growth and sustainable development, adding that it is its responsibility to provide the enabling legal framework for industrial relations practice through appropriate laws and public policy legislation.