Thursday, March 10, 2016

Nigerian Oil Workers Shut NNPC Oerations
By Isiaka Wakili, Daniel Adugbo & Ismail Mudashir
Mar 10 2016 5:00AM

We reorganised, not unbundled – FG, Minister to meet with union leaders

Oil workers yesterday shut down operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) nationwide to protest the restructuring of the state oil firm.

The decision to shut down operations was reached at a meeting of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), which held immediately after the restructuring of the NNPC, was announced.

The union said after extensively discussing the pronouncement, they “Observed that the GMD/Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu totally disregarded due process and failed to engage stakeholders.”

“Hence, from midnight (Tuesday, March 8), all NNPC locations will be shut down completely until further notice. Further directives will be communicated accordingly” the union resolved.

The oil workers said they were not carried along in the entire process.

The main entrance to the NNPC Towers in Abuja was blocked early Wednesday morning as staff of the corporation and subsidiary companies located in the towers were turned back by the protesting union members who wore red shirts.

Our reporter gathered that staff who learned about the protest stayed back home while those on their way turned back on hearing from colleagues about the protest.

“I came as early as 7:00am but was denied access, therefore I am going back home,” a staff told our reporter.

Our reporter also learned that one of the new CEOs of the restructured company was denied entry to the tower.

The immediate impact of the strike began to be felt immediately as fuel queues reemerged in Lagos and some parts of Abuja. It was learned that product lifting at depots were constrained due to the ongoing protests.

It is not yet clear if the protest will affect crude oil export.

NNPC restructured, not unbundled – FG

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was not unbundled, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Emmanuel IbeKachikwu has said.

The minister, who doubles as the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, said this in an interview with State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting yesterday.

Kachikwu said the NNPC remains a whole corporation, adding: “We have not unbundled the NNPC.

We had a press conference yesterday (Tuesday) where I explained this.

“What we have simply done is reorganisation. We have five business entities focused on business –upstream, downstream, refineries, gas and power that were there before.

“There are also ventures that capture all our little companies that were not having proper stewardship.

They are run by individuals who report to the Group Managing Director.

“I have tried to explain this, and I am sure the NNPC workers are members of the family, they will understand. We are going to have a meeting, and they will be made to understand. Perhaps, the engagement has not been good enough.

“The NNPC has not been unbundled in the sense of breaking it up into distinct institutions.

“I am concerned. I don’t want the industry shut down. I am sure we are going to resolve the issues very soon,” the minister said.

Baru redeployed to ministry

The recent restructuring at Nigeria’s oil firm has consumed the corporation’s former Group Executive Director (Exploration and Production) Maikanti K. Baru, sources told Daily Trust yesterday.

Baru, who was widely speculated as the next Group Managing Director of NNPC, was redeployed to the petroleum ministry and may serve as special adviser to the Minister of State Ibe Kachikwu, the sources added.

Before the restructuring, the NNPC Group comprised of the NNPC Board, the Group Managing Director’s office as well as four directorates namely: Exploration & Production, Refineries & Technology, Commercial & Investment and Finance & Services. Each of the Directorates was headed by a Group Executive Director (GED). Its divisions were headed by Group General Managers while its ten subsidiary companies are headed by Managing Directors.

But following President MuhammaduBuhari’s approval, the NNPC was restructured into seven new divisions. Kachikwu, who announced the changes on Tuesday in Abuja, had explained that under the new structure the NNPC would have five new divisions comprising the upstream, downstream, refining group, gas and power, as well as the ventures’ groups. The other two, he said, are finance and services groups.

Under the new structure the four former GEDs were converted to Chief Operating Officers or Chief Executive Officers.

Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazaq, who was the GED in charge of Finance and Services under the old structure, is now CEO Finance and Services.

Mr. Babatunde Victor Adeniran, formerly GED Commercial and Investment, is now CEO Ventures.

Like Dr Baru, sources say Dr. Dennis Nnamdi Ajulu, who was GED, Refining & Technology, is also back at the ministry.

It is unclear if Mr. Chidi Momah, the Secretary to the Corporation/Legal Adviser, has retained his position.

Spokesman for the corporation Ohi Alegbe could not be reached for comments last night.

Kachikwu had said the steps taken won’t conflict with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Bill adding that he was speaking with members of the National Assembly and that the structuring agreed with the PIB, in principle.

Checks by our reporter showed that Section 6d of NNPC Act allows the corporation to create subsidiaries, for ‘discharge of functions’.

Senate summons Kachikwu

The Senate has summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum IbeKachikwu over the purported unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Kachikwu, who doubles as the Group Managing Director of NNPC, had announced changes at the oil coy, prompting workers to embark on an industrial action.

The invitation of Kachikwu was contained in a letter signed by Senator Donald Alasoadura (APC, Ondo Central) seen by our correspondent.

Kachikwu is expected to appear before the Joint Committees of Senate on Upstream, Downstream and Gas today.

In an interview with our correspondent, the Senate Leader (APC, Borno South) confirmed the invitation, saying the decision of the Federal Government was in the best interest of the country.

“But you can’t in the process of repairing something, do more damage to it. We will look at critically in the interest of all,” he said

Earlier on the floor yesterday, the Senate Chief Whip, Senator OlusolaAdeyeye (APC, Osun Central) said the unbundling of the NNPC violated the law establishing the coy.

“The breaking up of the NNPC into parts that are not known to the law establishing the coy has led to the strike by the workers, “ he said.


No comments: