Following the suspension of the planned nationwide strike over the twin policies of deregulation of the downstream sector of the Petroleum Industry and the introduction of cost-reflective tariffs in the power sector, a joint technical committee comprising of representatives of the federal government, the labour unions and electricity distribution companies have been put in place to take another look at the policies and report back in two weeks.
The technical committee will among other things as contained in the communique signed by both parties and released after the conclusion of the meeting look at the data presented to justify the tariff increase by NERC which is in conflict with that presented by labour.
The 8 member committee will also undertake a comprehensive review of the power sector as stated in the power sector privatisation MOU among other issues in the power sector before the end of the year 2020.
The implementation of the new cost-reflective tariffs will be suspended during the two week period of the technical committee’s work.
The meeting also agreed to work towards increasing local refining capacity through the rehabilitation of the nations’ refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna with Port Harcourt expected to achieve 50% completion by December 2021 while timelines for the delivery of the others will be established by an inclusive steering committee.
According to the communique, the NNPC will integrate the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers(NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ( PENGASSAN) into the steering committee already established by it for the rehabilitation of the refineries.
The Federal government through the NNPC will also ensure that both PENGASSAN and NUPENG are included in the process of establishing the operational model of the refineries post-rehabilitation.
A Validation team comprising the representatives of the NNPC, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), NUPENG and PENGASSAN will be established to monitor the progress of the rehabilitation of the refineries and the pipelines/strategic depots network and advice the Steering Committee periodically.
The Federal Government will also facilitate the delivery of licensed modular and regular refineries, the involvement of upstream companies in petroleum refining and establishing the framework for financing in the downstream sector.
The NNPC is to also expedite work on the Build Operate and Transfer framework for the nation’s pipelines and strategic depots network for efficient transportation and distribution of Petroleum products to match the delivery timelines of the refineries as agreed.
The Federal Government and its agencies are to ensure the delivery of 1 million CNG/LPG AutoGas conversion kits, storage skids and dispensing units under the Nigeria Gas Expansion Programme by December 2021 to enable the delivery of cheaper transportation and power fuel.
A Governance Structure that will include representatives of organized Labour shall be established for a timely delivery.
Other general interventions agreed by the joint meeting include a specific amount to be unveiled by the federal government in two weeks’ time which will be isolated from the Economic Sustainability Programme Intervention Fund and be accessed by Nigerian Workers with subsequent provision for 240,000 under the auspices of NLC and TUC for participation in agricultural ventures through the CBN and the Ministry of Agriculture.
The facilitation of removal of tax on the minimum wage, the provision of 133 CNG/LPG driven mass transit buses to organised labour immediately and extension to all states of the federation on scale-up bases before December 2021 among others were also agreed on.