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NUPENG strike: Presidency Denies Plans to Sell Refineries

Kayode Adelowokan, Lagos

The Presidency has moved to assure the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) that it has no plan to sell the 4 refineries in the country.

Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke

Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke

The unions had threatened to halt the loading of crude cargoes and shut down oil and gas production if the government doesn’t halt the proposed sale.

Though the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison Madueke, had prior to the threat disclosed to Bloomberg TV Africa in London that the refineries would be sold.

But the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati told journalists on Thursday, January 2, 2014, that the Federal Government had no plans to sell the refineries.

He therefore called on NUPENG and PENGASSAN to halt their planned strike action.

According to Abati, “Government is not going to sell any of the refineries. There are no such plans and there is no presidential approval for such. No body, not even the Minister of Petroleum has the powers to sell any government property.”

It would be recalled that a presidential audit of the country’s refineries  led by a former Minister of Finance, Kalu Idika Kalu, had recommended the sale of the refineries due to inadequate government funding and “sub-optimal performance.”

The four refineries, located in Warri, Kaduna and Portharcourt have a combined capacity of 445,000 bpd.

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