Lagos - The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) said on Wednesday that incessant changes in the leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) might affect ongoing reforms in the oil and gas sector.
The association's president, Mr Babatunde Ogun, told reporters in Lagos that the ongoing Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) in some of the nation's refineries could suffer setbacks.
Ogun was reacting to the sacking of the NNPC’s Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr Austin Oniwon, and three executive directors from office on Tuesday by Presdent Goodluck Jonathan.
The PENGASSAN president, who picked holes in the incessant changes in the management of the NNPC, expressed fear that the changes could delay the growth of the oil and gas industry by affecting the ongoing investment drive in the oil and gas sector.
Ogun also said the rehabilitation of the four refineries which were being restored to operate at their installed capacities could equally be delayed as a result of the changes.
He recalled that in the past few months, the NNPC management had been working on how to bring back the refineries as part of its transformation drive.
"The Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries have started working progressively towards their installed capacities while there are plans to put back the Warri Refinery," Ogun said.
The union leader expressed fears that the new management might abandon the ongoing TAM of the refineries, which could compel the Federal Government to sell off the refineries.
He said that the experience of the leaders would have been tapped in kick-starting the successful takeoff of the impending Petroleum Industry Law.
Ogun said that PENGASSAN, without prejudice, was not happy with the process of appointment and removal of the NNPC management, saying that it had always set the industry backward.
"It does not engender continuity in development policies as every GMD comes with his own governance style and discontinues the growth policies of previous administrations," he said.
Ogun pointed out that in the union’s various engagements with government, it had always demanded that the appointment of the NNPC GMD should be based on tenure, just like what exited at the CBN, Nigerian Communications Commission NCC and the Bureau for Public Enterprises BPE.
He recalled that in the past 10 years, the NNPC had had six GMDs from Dr Jackson Gaius-Obaseki to Mr Austin Oniwon, unlike other agencies that had just two changes.
The association's president congratulated the new GMD, Dr Andrew Yakubu, and his team, urging them to follow the laid down reform policies and plans of the outgoing team.
He urged the Federal Government to address the concerns of workers, saying that it would go a long way in enhancing the growth of the nation's oil and gas industry.