By ELISHA BALA-GBOGBO
Nigerias two main oil unions plan to start an
indefinite nationwide strike on Jan. 1 to protest proposals
by the government to privatize its four state-owned oil
refineries in the first quarter.
The plan to sell the refineries, which have a combined
capacity of 445,000 bpd, is against the overall
national interest and in the interest of a few, the
Petroleum and Natural Gas
Association of Nigeria, or Pengassan, and the National Union
of Petroleum and Natural Gas
Workers, or Nupeng,
said Wednesday in a joint e-mailed statement.
The governments plan will transfer government
monopoly to cartels that will dictate the market,
Babatunde Ogun, president of the manager-level Pengassan, and
Achese Igwe, head of the blue-collar Nupeng, said in the
statement. The two organizations have a combined membership
of at least 25,000.
Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke told Bloomberg
in an interview in London that the government
of the continents largest oil producer will pursue the
plan after a presidential audit of the facilities
last year recommended
the sale due to inadequate government funding and what it
described as sub-optimal performance.
We would like to see major infrastructural entities
such as refineries moving out of government hands into the
private sector, Alison-Madueke said in the interview.
Government do not want to be in the business of running
major infrastructure entities and we havent done a very
good job at it over all these years.
While Nigeria is also Africas top crude exporter and
the continents most populous nation with more than 160
million people, it relies on fuel imports to meet more than
70% of its needs. Its state-owned plants operate at a
fraction of their capacity because of poor maintenance
The West African nation exchanges 60,000 bpd of crude for
products with Trafigura Beheer BV and a similar amount with
Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinages refinery
in Ivory Coast, according
to Nigeria National Petroleum Corp.