Oil workers may have stirred a fresh debate on the subsidy of petrol by the federal government which it curiously dubbed “under-recovery” by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) with a demand that the state oil company be reimbursed its expenses for keeping retail price at N145 per litre.
Dr. Maikanti Baru, group managing director of NNPC, had revealed that the company spends N774 million daily in subsidising petrol imports even as the federal government claims that no subsidy is paid on fuel by it.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Thursday called on the Federal Government to reimburse the NNPC for the expenses it incurred on payment of subsidy to marketers.
Rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Warri, Delta State, PENGASSAN said the NNPC had continued to shoulder the responsibility of providing products to close gaps created by the withdrawal of other marketers owing to the non-payment of subsidy claims from 2015 to 2017.
In a communique signed by its president, Comrade Francis Olabode Johnson, and general secretary, Comrade Lumumba Okugbawa, the union said the extra burden absorbed by the NNPC was depleting its finances and hampering the effective discharge of its statutory obligations.
The senior staff trade union, therefore, called on the government to reimburse the huge payments made since 2016.
It expressed worries over the delayed payment of subsidy and debts owed oil marketers, urging the Federal Government to come to the table to resolve the differences as this would help to avert loss of jobs in the oil and gas industry.
On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), PENGASSAN praised the 8th National Assembly for breaking the jinx of passing into law the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), but called on the lawmakers to expedite action on the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and the Petroleum Host Community Bill to enable the PIB deliver full benefits of the intended Oil and Gas reforms.
The Association demanded that the legal framework in the bill should allocate a percentage of the production by International Oil Companies (IOC)’s operating in Nigeria for refining in the country through a policy that would compel them to build Refineries in Nigeria.
“This is in support of the proposal of the Federal Government as announced by the Honourable Minister of Petroleum (State), Dr Ibe Kachickwu at the last Nigerian International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) in Abuja,” it stated.