By Joan Neagwu
Abuja, Aug. 27, 2020 President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) to continue to provide the much-needed highly skilled manpower to meet the nation’s developmental mandate in the sector.
Buhari said this in a message, at the 6th Triennial PENGASSAN National Delegates’ Conference, with the theme: The Future of Work Post Pandemic and Energy’”on Thursday in Abuja.
Buhari, represented by Chief Temipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, noted that PENGASSAN consist of professional men and women who continue to make significant contributions to the development and sustainability of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
He said sadly, these contributions sometimes come with grave hazards to personal security and well-being of your members.
According to him, Nigeria has earned its price of place in the committee of oil and gas producing nations, standing at 10th and 9th positions in global oil and gas reserves respectively.
“Nigerian oil and gas industry remain the main driver for economic and infrastructural development of the country.
“It is the major contributor of foreign exchange earnings to the Nigerian government accounting for around 10 per cent for the nations GDP as well as providing employment to a significant number of skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled labour.
“All these would not have been possible without the diligent contributions of PENGASSAN,” he said.
He said that government recognise the significance of oil and gas industry as an enabler of national growth, and development of the country.
He added that his administration has carved out some strategies for the ministry of petroleum resources to stimulate the sector in order to foster the sustainability of the Nigerian economy.
The president added that this was in terms of creating well paid jobs, and taking millions of Nigerians out of poverty, to this end, significant transformation is currently on going in the oil and gas sector.
According to Buhari, the transformation initiative, will definitely require highly skilled manpower.
“We are counting on your association to continue to provide the much-needed support to meet our developmental mandate.
“Our collaboration will focus on gas to transmute Nigeria from the conventional dependence on white products for prime movers to a cleaner, more available, accessible, acceptable and affordable energy used in gas.
“This will cushion the effect of deregulation and create enormous job opportunities for Nigerians.
” This is while revamping the existing refineries, green field and development of modular refineries are sprung up, these activities will continue to engage PENGASSAN and NUPENG,” he said.
The President also noted that COVID-19 pandemic and progressive decline in 2020 has made it imperative for Nigeria to pursue the development of non-oil economy and diversification of revenue sources as the country braces for a possible lower for longer price era.
“The government is factoring in these current realities in its reform agenda, we are developing strategic survival measures to ensure economic sustainability and job security.
“We seriously believe that the diversification plan to non-oil economy has become a national imperative, let me assure you that crude oil will remain prominent in the global energy mix in the medium to long term, this implies that massive opportunities abound to members of PENGASSAN,” he said.
Buhari, however, commended the courage and expertise of members of the association for their tireless, fearless, and significant contribution to the development of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and the economy in general.
Also speaking, Sen Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment noted that the Oil and Gas sector in the country occupied a central position in the political and social economic development of the country.
Ngige, represented by Mr Williams Alo, Permanent Secretary in the ministry tasked the association on innovative ways of addressing identified challenges in the sector.
He also said that the theme of the Conference was apt and was aimed at addressing the effects of the global pandemic.
The minister also commended the outgoing executives of the association for their doggedness towards the welfare of its members, while charging the incoming to do much better for the next three years.
Newsmen reports that there were 389 delegates present at the Conference with only two contesting for the post of President of the association