The Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Rivers, Mr Chika Onuegbu, on Monday called for partnership between government, labour unions and employers to tackle the challenges caused by falling oil prices.
Onuegbu told the News Agency of Nigeria in Port Harcourt that TUC was worried by the state of the economy following the over 60 per cent fall in crude oil prices.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari might not be able to deliver effectively on his campaign promises if the price of crude oil continued to hover around $50 per barrel.
According Onuegbu , the fall in crude oil prices is negatively impacting on the nation’s oil and gas sector.
“Already, there are strong fears that some 120,000 direct and indirect jobs may have been lost in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
“The situation in Nigeria is made worse by the fact that there were existing challenges in the industry which are yet to be addressed by all stakeholders.
“ Key amongst these challenges are the 400,000 barrels of crude oil being stolen daily through pipeline vandalism, well head vandalism and illegal crude oil diversion.
“ There is also the escalating insecurity and kidnapping in the Niger Delta leading to significant increase in the cost of doing business,’’ he said.
Onuegbu, however, appealed to labour, especially those in the oil and gas sector, to partner with government, employers and other stakeholders to evolve appropriate strategies to resolve outstanding challenges in the sector.
He canvassed strategies like adoption of partnership approach to industrial relations in order to create solutions to the current challenges facing the industry.
The labour leader also called for diversification of the economy, review of fiscal federalism, passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill and conclusion of the reforms in the oil and gas sector,“ he said.