Abuja — The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has vowed to resist the sale of the nation's refineries even as they remained comatose.
The union was obviously referring to declarations by some presidential candidates of their plans to sell the refineries as a way of reeving up domestic production of petroleum products and stem corruption associated with unending Turn Around Maintenance (TAM), if they win the next presidential election.
Speaking at the 5th NNPC Group Executive Council (GEC) Triennial Delegates Conference held in Abuja, President of PENGASSAN, Francis Olabode Johnson, urged the Federal Government to speed up the rehabilitation of the ailing refineries and return them to optimal production level.
Johnson added: "We strongly appeal to the Federal Government to hasten work on the rehabilitation of the refineries as conflicting pronouncements are creating more confusion. We urge the government to fast track the rehabilitation of the refineries so that the intended sales as been propagated in certain quarters will not be accepted.
"PENGASSAN's position from time immemorial has been the NLNG Model and for the model to be accepted by the association. The rehabilitation of these refineries must be concluded, as this will go a long way in not short-changing the Nigerian nation."
Speaking at the Delegates Conference, themed, 'The role of labour in maintaining industrial and political stability in Nigeria', the PENGASSAN President commended the NNPC management under the leadership of Dr Maikanti Baru for resolving the Joint Venture cash call conundrum and successfully rehabilitation of depots in Mosimi, Ore, Aba, Gombe, Ibadan, Calabar, Ilorin, Kaduna and others.
He said: "We will use this medium to sincerely appreciate the dedication and commitment efforts of the NNPC Management in their investment drive to position the corporation for greater efficiency.
"We are again grateful to the management of NNPC and other subsidiaries units for their support on capacity development, improved staff welfare and career progression for some of our members of the GEC and our associations as a whole. We equally commend the management for their understanding in resolving issues involving some management staff recently."
Also in his speech, the GEC Chairman, Sulaiman Sulaiman called on the management of NNPC to prioritise revitalisation of the downstream sector especially the refineries, depots and the rising cases of pipelines vandalism.
He explained that the three refineries in the country are almost grounded producing only at about 30% of installed capacity with the proposed financier model being proposed by the NNPC management remained unattainable.
He emphasized that this development is giving the workforce some concern saying the other staff related issues that need urgent management intervention include deterioration of staff strength in almost every section of the corporation that include human capacity development, training and succession planning.