Oil workers, under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have warned the Federal Government against selling profitable oil and gas assets as scrap to fund the 2018 budget.
The trade union expressed its support to any other model to fund the budget aside from selling of the sector’s properties, calling on the National Assembly to reject as it had done in the past because the plan is not in the national interest.
Reacting to a report on the revealed plans by the government to giving up the nation’s possessions as a panacea to fix the budget, PENGASSAN’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Fortune Obi, on Wednesday noted that majority Nigerians rejected the idea when it was first proposed in 2016.
Obi, while addressing the media, described the move as a ploy to hand over “our collective common wealth to a few individuals and further impoverish majority of Nigerians.”
He advised that instead of selling those assets, the government should look for other ways of funding the budget such as plugging loopholes and leakages in government’s finances.
“We will not allow the commonwealth of the country to be given away to cronies of the government all in the name of sale of the assets in the industry to fund the budget.
“The Government should critically evaluate the assets to look at their viability and profitability. Profitable assets such as such as NLNG and shares in the upstream oil and gas JV operations that has become a huge revenue earner for the country, should be kept by the government to the benefit of the Nigerian majority.
“We also advise the government to endeavour to put repair assets that are in state of disrepairs but not to sell them as scrap to some opportunists in the clothes of businessmen and short-sighted politicians,” he said.
The association’s PRO added that the idea does not reflect the national agenda, stressing that “no nation can develop, survive or feel secure after selling all its national assets.”