Why Government can’t sack refinery workers – Minister
Timipre Sylva, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, says the Federal Government is preserving the workforce at the nation’s four refineries for use when the refineries are finally fixed.
According to the minister, though the refineries are not working at the moment, the option is not to sack the workers because it is no fault of theirs that the refineries run by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation have been shut down.
Africa’s biggest oil producer, Nigeria has for several years been importing the bulk of its refined petroleum products as a result of the inability of its refineries to refine crude oil produced within the country.
Nigeria’s refineries between January and August this year, gulped a total of N81.41bn even though the facilities did not refine a drop of crude oil all through this period, according to NNPC data.
Earlier, The Punch reported that the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company, Port Harcourt Refining Company and Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company posted a cumulative revenue of N6.54bn during the eight-month period.
According to figures contained in the just-released August 2020 report of the NNPC, with a revenue of N6.54bn and a total expense of N81.41bn, the facilities ended up with a deficit of N78.87bn,
Financial experts and economists expect the Federal Government to be frugal with resources which it claimed shrank by over 40 per cent due to economic shocks occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, especially now that the country’s economy has gone into its worst recession in over 30 years.
On Monday night however, while featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, the minister said laying off workers at the non-performing refineries is ‘a knotty issue’ as there are many labour issues to contend with should the government decide to take any action in that line.
“If we continue to preserve the workforce, then it means that we are serious of getting to use this workforce in the future. If you lay them off and fix the refineries, you will have to go looking for them to employ again. It is because we want to fix those refineries that we have kept them”, he said.