The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has threatened to shut down the country if the federal government proceeds with the plan to sell national assets to alleviate the current economic recession.
PENGASSAN in a statement yesterday described the plan as self-destructive, saying it would only solve short term financial obligations. It said the plan was targeted at handing over the nation’s collective wealth to a few individuals and would further impoverish the rest of the citizens.
The trade union advised that instead of selling the assets, the government should look for other ways of increasing the revenue base of the country, while plugging loopholes and leakages in government’s finances.
It further advised governments at all levels to release money through execution of capital projects and payment of workers’ salaries to revive the economy.
PENGASSAN warned the federal government against the plan, saying it would not sit back and watch national assets, especially those in the oil and gas industry such as NLNG that had become a huge revenue earner for Nigeria, refineries and shares in the upstream oil and gas JV operations being shared among those in power and their cronies.
“Any attempt to sell these assets will be met with stiff resistance from the Aassociation, as PENGASSAN will galvanize every support, including that of our sister union and labour centres, to shut down this country by ensuring that every activity in the oil and gas sector is brought to a complete halt,” it said.
Reacting to the recent approval of the sale of the national assets by the NEC comprising of the Federal Executive Council and the state governors, the PENGASSAN spokesman, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana, said such sales would further compound the economic and security problems in Nigeria.
He expressed surprise at how anybody could plan to sell the assets.
Ojugbana alleged that the plan was ill-timed and unwarranted as it would not serve the national interest, adding that no nation could develop, survive or feel secure after selling all its assets.