Vanguard (Lagos)

2 June 2011

Nigeria: Our Agenda for Improved Service Delivery

MEMBERS of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association, PENGASSAN, are gathered in Abuja, Nigerian capital for their 3rd Triennial Delegates Conference, to review activities of the association in the past three years, chart a new agenda for the years ahead and elect a new leadership to take PENGASSAN to the next level.

For PENGASSAN, the conference which started yesterday and will end today, would strategize to consolidate and find new ways to liberate the oil and gas workers and sustain Nigeria's evolving democracy.

President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, who is seeking a re-election, recalled the past three years of his leadership and declared that PENGASSAN had now become very dominant and vociferous in the petroleum Sector reforms through its representation in the 22-man Committee of the OGIC, Oil and Gas Implementation Committee, which formed a very substantial part of the Executive Bill Christened "Petroleum Industry Bill" that has been through several legislative processes.

Lagos Zonal Chairman of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, Comrade S. F. Oginni and

According to him, "The major grouse of PENGASSAN has been the various changes made which may undermine the interest of Labour. We have continuously been working assiduously through various legislative and executive platforms to ensure the engagement of Labour to resolve all grey areas in the Bill to avoid the likely unrest and unpalatable consequences that will result from the circumvention of Labour's interest in the Petroleum Industry Bill. Under our dynamic stewardship, PENGASSAN has made robust and impressive contributions in the downstream Oil and Gas Sector. Liberalisation policy has been continually supported to ensure effective integration, participation and healthy competition of both public and private sectors in petroleum production."

"In the past couple of months, the industrial relations tripartite have been mandated by National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG-PENGASSAN to negotiate an acceptable policy guideline, regulate and monitor casualisation and contract staffing in the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector. As a matter of fact, these developments were the direct consequence of a constant and persistent, pressure, lobbying, subtle protest and persuasive activities of PENGASSAN as a Union that resulted into the evolving scenario where the Government has now been receptive to Labour suggestions and ideas to formulate the relevant bill and policies that is certain to enhance and secure the interest of Labour."

Member drive

Comrade Ogun noted that "PENGASSAN has in the last three years embarked upon aggressive membership drive; sensitization of potential members and sustenance of existing members. The Association as a social partner engaged in constructive methods and or confrontational approach depending on peculiar circumstances, to enlarge the spread and coverage of the sectors inclusive of allied ones. While we remain open to negotiations and dialogue, we shall dauntingly match shoulder to shoulder to ensure mutual respect on every challenge posed by global socioeconomic dynamics and emerging business trends that could threaten our existence and significance as a Trade Union as well as the interest of our Comrades who have reposed their confidence and trust in us. New and effective organizational strategies have been adopted."

"PENGASSAN is now receptive to local and international exposures and with the active support of the American Labour Solidarity Center, the capacity of our officers and personnel has been generally improved on new tactics for membership drive which has resulted into the emergence of twenty-three new branches within the period under review. The Association has made the Government and Employers to appreciate the essence of proactively engaging and integrating Labour in their activities to avoid major conflicts and negative consequences to Labour/Government/Employer's relations."

Plans for the future

According to Comrade Ogun, "Our core objectives designed to project PENGASSAN into the next desirable levels include but not limited to; ensuring that Factory/Company Inspectorate of the Federal Ministry of Labour function at optimal capacity, consolidate on the association's image, integrity and credibility gained in the last three years among stakeholders and social partners, safety audit and routine visit on the refineries, jetties and pipeline network for optimal performance and for improvement of job quality of our members, continuous close monitoring of expatriate quota and their abuses, equip the research department of the Association to serve as databank for the Association to aid easy information gathering and dissemination and build a befitting secretariat for the Association at the nation's capital, Abuja with Library facilities."

"We will also ensure effective legislative and executive lobbying on labour related and other industry issues, Investment portfolio to compete favourably with the capitalist as a means to stamp workers authority in business management, compensation and profitability, Vanguard for advocacy and collaboration with civil liberty organisations on national issues, Capacity building through training and retraining of members and staff at all levels, New organising strategies for new members and effective machinery for prompt resolution of industrial relation issues, Re-energizing women empowerment in PENGASSAN and close monitoring of the Nigerian Content Monitoring Board (NCMB) to ensure correct and effective implementation of the Nigerian Content."

Way forward

The PENGASSA President added that "In our struggle to liberate the oil and gas workers and the Nigerian nation, our evolving democracy calls for new ways of doing things. We must all join hands to take this association to the next level of pre-eminence."

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