FAAC Meeting again deadlock, keeping workers’ salaries at bay

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun

… As NUPENG suspends 21-day ultimatum issued to Oil and Gas sector***

The monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting has again ended in a deadlock as Federal and state governments reject the revenue figures submitted by NNPC for May, as most of the committee members remained  unsatisfied with the revenue figures presented before the committee by the NNPC.

Subsequently, the committee has agreed to postpone the meeting to Thursday, to give NNPC a chance to make adjustments.

With the stalemate recorded for the second time, between  the committee and the NNPC over revenue generated in the month of May, it could be expected that the salaries of most States Government workers would be deluded by more than two weeks.

It would be recalled that a meeting was convened on June 27, which was inconclusive.

According to the Chairman, Forum of Finance Commissioners, Mr Mahmoud Yunusa, it was due to discrepancies in revenue remittances by the NNPC.

Also on June 28, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, confirmed that FAAC ended in a deadlock because the figures proposed by the NNPC were unacceptable.

“For the purpose of this briefing, we operate NNPC as a business.

“We have invested public capital in that business and we have expectations of return and when that return falls lower than our expectations, then the owners of the business, which in this case is the Federal Government and states need to act.

“So, that was what caused the deadlock and we really felt the figures that the NNPC proposed for FAAC were unacceptable.

“We felt that some of the costs could not be justified and so we have decided that rather than approve the accounts, we will go back and do further work.’’

Meanwhile, the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has suspended its 21 days ultimatum issued to employers in the Oil and Gas sector of the country.

Mr Williams Aaporeha, NUPENG National President, said this when he addressed newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that NUPENG had on June 2, 2018 issued a 21-day ultimatum over some crucial and critical issues affecting the union and its members across the nation.

The issues include, failure of National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to fully implement the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed with the Petroleum Tankers Branch of the Union since 2016.

Others are Service Level Agreement (SLA) reached between the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) on contract cycle in the oil and gas industry.

Also, the employment policies of both indigenous and multinational oil and gas, which are geared toward total elimination of unions from the oil and gas industry.

According to Aaporeha, the suspension of the ultimatum was due to the reinstatement of 89 oil and natural gas workers sacked by OES Deepsea Offshore oil firm based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“Also, the directive given by the Committee of the House of Representatives to the Nigeria Content Development and monitoring Board to commence immediate discussion with the Union on how to improve the lots of Nigerians.

“This is with regards to job security and workers’ rights in the Oil and Gas Industry.

“This also include the process already initiated for the full implementation of the outstanding part of the 2016 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between NARTO and PTD.

“Also the undertaking made by Rivers State Government to call the management of the other companies operating in Port Harcourt for comprehensive resolution of identified issues.

“This is as contained in the ultimatum from the union’s Port Harcourt Zonal Council.

“We therefore direct all our zones, units and the entire body of NUPENG to accordingly comply with this directive forthwith, ’’ he said.

He, however, warned that the union might commence strike in Akwa Ibom State without further notice over the State government’s “nonchalant attitude towards resolving crucial issues affecting” their members in Universal Energy Ltd and the Frontier Nigeria Ltd.

He commended the Chairman House Committee on Petroleum Resources Downstream, Mr Joseph Akinlaja, Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige, among others, for their quick intervention.

The union president also called on all relevant authority to convene as a matter of urgency, stakeholders’ summit in the oil and gas industry to adequately and appropriately address employment and industrial relations crises in the industry.

According to him, this will go a long way in engendering industrial peace and harmony in the oil and gas sector.