The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers has said any deregulation in the petroleum sector that is still dependent on importation of oil would affect the economy negatively.
The union’s General Secretary, Afolabi Olawale, said this in a telephone interview with our correspondent.
He said the position of the union had always been that the government should fix the refineries and they should be up and running before deregulation.
He said, “The position of the union has always been that deregulation should be on local production. By this we are saying that the refineries should be working before government can deregulate.
“Any deregulation that is based on importation of oil, as we have at the moment, will have negative impact on the economy. Global oil crash will always affect our economy under this circumstance.”
On its own part, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, described the removal of the subsidy on petroleum products as a right step in a right direction, but added that it was not sustainable.
The National Public Relations Officer of the union, Mr Fortune Obi, also agreed with Olawale that the removal of the subsidy could only be sustainable if the country’s refineries were working, arguing that it was difficult to control the price of what one did not produce.
He said, “The removal of the subsidy on the petroleum products is a right step in a right direction; however, there is a lacuna.
“The lacuna is that the nation’s refineries are not working.”
He added that for the removal of subsidy to be sustainable, the government must fix the refineries.