The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has called on the incoming administration of Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in the country’s oil and gas sector on assumption of office if the myriad of problems there are to be addressed.
The senior oil industry workers said there was no sub-sector of the oil and gas industry that was not going through one teething problem or the other, drawing down the sector and the entire national economy.
President of PENGASSAN, Francis Johnson, said there were many issues that required urgent attention from the incoming government to ensure that the industry was repositioned for efficient and effective delivery of its benefits to Nigerians.
Mr. Johnson stressed the need for an all-inclusive stakeholders’ forum of all players in the sector to critically examine and proffer workable and enduring solutions to all the problems in the larger interest of the country.
“All the sub-sectors of the oil and gas industry have one challenge or the other affecting the delivery of the benefits of our God-given hydrocarbon resources to the country and the entire people of Nigeria,” the PENGASSAN president said.
These challenges, he pointed out, were traced to past neglects, wrong policies and policy somersaults in some sub-sectors. He said these were inflicting untold pains on Nigerians who ought to be enjoying the benefits of the natural resources god bequeathed to the country.
Some of the challenges, he said, included oil and gas pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, state of the refineries, intractable and persistent scarcity of petroleum products and corruption in fuel subsidy payments.
Other challenges include controversial divestment, illegal transfer or allocation of oil blocks, irregular joint venture funding, with emphasis on delay in cash call payment, inadequate funding of government agencies in the oil and gas sector and undue interference in the management of government agencies.
The union leader said the stakeholders’ forum would chart the ways of attending to the critical challenges affecting the industry and evolve a framework to facilitate its stability.He said it would help set in motion the machinery for periodic meetings to evaluate and review the success and workability of the framework.