FG meets PENGASSAN over strike to­day

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Mustapha Suleiman

The Min­is­ter of Labour and Em­ploy­ment, Sen­a­tor Chris Ngige, has urged the Petroleum and Nat­u­ral Gas Se­nior Staff As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (PENGASSAN) to call off its strike in the in­ter­est of the na­tion.

“The fed­eral gov­ern­ment there­fore urges PENGASSAN to ur­gently call off the strike so that all sides will freely ne­go­ti­ate. I am very op­ti­mistic that when we sit for ne­go­ti­a­tion on Mon­day, July 11, is­sues that had led to the sit­u­a­tion on the ground will be re­solved in the greater in­ter­est of the na­tion,” he said as he urged Nige­ri­ans to avoid panic buy­ing of petroleum prod­ucts.

A state­ment is­sued by the min­istry’s Deputy Di­rec­tor (Press), Sa­muel Olowooekere, yes­ter­day quoted the min­is­ter as say­ing that the strikes nei­ther solve in­dus­trial dis­putes nor con­trib­ute to in­dus­trial growth, es­pe­cially when the na­tion’s econ­omy was al­ready suf­fer­ing from decade-long mis­man­age­ment.

“A sit­u­a­tion where oil work­ers leave their of­fices and oil load­ing bases will not make for an in­crease in oil ex­ports or make avail­able enough petroleum prod­ucts in this time of dereg­u­la­tion. This will only com­pound the van­dal­ism in the Niger Delta, oc­ca­sion­ing low out­put and ex­port in our OPEC quota, apart from the un­war­ranted hard­ship on the pop­u­lace,’’ the min­is­ter said.

He added that the na­tion at this point re­quired pa­tri­o­tism even as he said ne­go­ti­a­tions had al­ready started with PENGASSAN and In­ter­na­tional Oil Com­pa­nies (IOCs) on most of the con­tentious ar­eas, es­pe­cially the is­sue of cash calls and ar­bi­trary sack of per­son­nel.

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