- Senate, oil workers reach truce
- FG to handover agreement with marketers to Buhari
Striking oil workers yesterday began the lifting of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as fuel from depots across the country, following intervention of the Senate in their dispute with the Federal Government.
The development raised hopes that the long queues at filling stations nationwide would begin to disappear from today.
At the meeting of the oil workers with the Senate in Abuja, the Federal Government and other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, agreed to resolve the problems leading to the crisis with immediate effect.
The meeting was attended by leadership of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas, NUPENG and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASAN, which agreed to suspend their strike for the immediate distribution of petroleum products across the country.
Beside NUPENG and PENGASSAN, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN and others also agreed to instruct their members to immediately begin the lifting and distribution of petroleum products across the country. Already, loading has commenced in Warri Depot, with fuel queues disappearing in Delta State.
Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Senate Committee Chairman on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Magnus Abe and heads of department in the Nigeria’s oil and gas sector witnessed the agreement the Senate reached with the oil workers.
Senator Abe, who read a communiqué signed by the stakeholders after the session, explained that the Finance Minister/Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and other parties unanimously agreed to the peace deal in the interest of the country.
He said that following the intervention of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the strike embarked upon by the NUPENG and PENGASSAN had been called off.
He said: “We have agreed on the following: First is that the Minister of Finance will give an undertaking to the Major Marketers and Depot Managers that the work of the committee being headed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, on the outstanding claims, would be concluded and be reflected in the handover notes to the incoming administration.”
Abe said the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria had agreed to begin lifting of petroleum products nationwide within the next six hours and to also pay the National Association of Road Transport Owners, the transport cost which would be determined by them.
He added that the depot managers had agreed to open all their facilities so that lifting would commence while the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, will withdraw the operational licence of any depot which failed to open for fuel lifting.
Abe said the NNPC had directed all the relevant members of staff at the depots to work 24 hours, including Saturdays and Sundays, for the next two weeks until normalcy returns to the sector.
He explained that the committee would reach out to the Lagos State government on the need for their cooperation towards the smooth lifting of fuel from the depots.