NUPENG reverses self, supports removal of fuel subsidy

By The Citizen

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has reversed its position on petroleum products subsidy and has declared its support for its total removal.

The union said that the subsidy funds should be channelled to the rehabilitation of refineries and infrastructural development in the country.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, the President, NUPENG, Igwe Achese, stressed that if the government continued to fund businesses of fuel marketers through subsidy and interest payments, fuel crisis in the country would continue unabated.

He advised the government to deregulate the sector and reduce the dependence of the country on imported petroleum products.

He said, 'It is in this country that you will see the government subsidising business for businessmen in terms of paying the interests on loans from the banks. It is only in Nigeria you can find these things happening because government itself has failed to provide the necessary environment.'

'We must go back to the old days of doing business as far as the oil and gas sector is concerned. These are some of the issues being captured in the Petroleum Industry Bill. Fuel crisis will continue until our refineries are fixed, until those we asked to manage the oil and gas sector also have the consciousness of the leadership to do the needful.'

Achese questioned the failure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to provide fuel for Nigerians despite being the major oil importer in the country.

'We cannot afford a situation where the highest importer of petroleum products in the country is NNPC. And who operates the refineries? NNPC. We have been asking this question over and over, why will NNPC be highest importer of petroleum? Why will the NNPC depots be stock empty of petroleum products? Why will NNPC send Nigerian marketers to go into the private depots to lift products? Why will NNPC go into agreement with the depots to pay N3 to depot owners in form of tribute agreement?' he added.

In the same vein, he urged Lagos State Government to create access lanes especially for fuel tankers on the highways and trailer parks close to the depots to avoid further occurrence of gridlock on the roads.