The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called for a salary benchmark for oil and gas workers in the country.
Mr Festus Osifo, National President of the union, made this call at the Second Edition of the PENGASSAN Energy and Labour Submit on Monday in Abuja.
The three- day event was titled,” Petroleum Downstream Deregulation and Gas Utilisation, for a Sustainable Energy Future in Nigeria.’’
Osifo said that the call was imperative due to the recent policy direction by the Federal Government.
He said policy by government included the PMS subsidy removal and the floating of the naira-dollar exchange rate.
“Part of the decisions of floatation has only benefited the government and the oil and gas companies in Nigeria.
“This has necessitated a call for salary benchmark for oil and gas workers, aligning with the instrument of trade of oil and gas commodity.’’
He, however, said that in Angola, legislation pegged workers’ salaries in dollars and paid them the legal tender equivalent.
Usifo said the Angola template was a testament to the possibilities of safeguarding the interests of workers amidst currency fluctuations.
He added that the floating of the naira in the official market had exacerbated the challenges faced by our workers.
“We must explore innovative solutions to restore financial losses to workers by preventing undue gains to oil companies and ensuring a fair and equitable environment for all.
“PENGASSAN will do all it can to push for this just and equitable distribution across its branches.’’
Osifo, while speaking on the theme, said it was carefully chosen due to the multifaceted challenges and opportunities inherent in the energy sector.
“Over the next three days, we will engage in enlightening discussions, share insights, and formulate strategies to address critical issues such as divestment, PMS subsidy removal and the place/role of the ever ready Nigeria workers in the oil and gas industry and it commitment value chain
“We are witnessing a significant shift in our landscape of the energy in the country, marked by the divestment action of companies such as Mobile Producing Nigeria, Nigeria Agip Company, SPDC, and others,’’ he said.
On his part, Mr Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of the NNPC Ltd, said that despite challenges, the country was already witnessing some positive outcome of the subsidy removal.
Kyari said that most construction companies had started moving back to sites as more resources became available to execute projects.
According to him, by 2024, Nigeria will become a net exporter of refined petroleum products based on ongoing policy interventions by the present administration.
“The meaning of this is that we will have sufficient volumes in-country,
“When we refine locally, we do have advantages.
“That is by creating wealth, creating taxes, and all forms of value chain, creating employment, and so on and so forth.’’
He added that what Nigeria needed was to adjust its realities at it imported 100 per cent of its production.
“No resource-dependent country does this and that is why we must deliver on our mandate,” he said.