9 November 2017

Nigeria: Oil Workers Oppose Planned Sale of Oil, Gas Asset to Fund Budget

Oil workers on the platform of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria PENGASSAN, on Wednesday said they would oppose any attempt by the Federal Government to sell oil and gas asset to fund the 2018 budget.

The association also urged the National Assembly to reject any move to dispose of any facility, pointing out that doing otherwise would not be in the nation's interest.

Reacting to a report on plans by the government to sell oil and gas asset to fund the budget, PENGASSAN's National Public Relations Officer, Fortune Obi, said they would support any other funding model to bridge the over N2 trillion deficit in the budget proposal presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Obi recalled that the idea of disposing of oil and gas industry asset to raise funds was rejected by Nigerians when it was first mooted in 2016.

He described the latest reported plan as a ploy to hand over the country's commonwealth to a few individuals and further impoverish majority of Nigerians.

"Instead of selling those assets, the government should look for other ways of funding the budget, such as plugging loopholes and leakages in government's finances," the oil workers said.

"We will not allow the commonwealth of the country to be given away to cronies of the government all in the name of sale of the assets in the industry to fund the budget.

"The Government should critically evaluate the assets and look at their viability and profitability. Profitable assets such as NLNG and shares in the upstream oil and gas JV operations that have become huge revenue earners for the country, should be kept by the government to the benefit of majority of Nigerians.

PENGASSAN restated its advice to government to repair asset that are in state of disrepair, rather than sell them as scrap to some "opportunists in the clothes of businessmen and short-sighted politicians."

Mr. Obi said no nation can develop, survive or feel secure after selling all its national asset, arguing that the alleged plan would mortgage the future of the country in the hands of few members of the cabal.


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