Friday, October 17, 2008

Privitizing Nigeria

By Camillus Eboh
ABUJA, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Nigeria's oil unions are maintaining their threat of strike action next week over government plans to privatise some downstream units of state oil firm NNPC, despite assurances that a sell-off is not imminent.
Nigeria's privatisation agency said it had no immediate plans to sell off any oil and gas businesses, an apparent climb-down after the unions threatened to launch industrial action from Oct. 23 unless the government clarified its intent.
Irene Chigbue, director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), told a joint news conference with the National Council of Privatization (NCP) that workers at state-run oil company NNPC had no cause for concern.
"Let me reiterate that there is no immediate plan by the NCP/BPE to sell off any enterprises in the oil and gas sector," she told reporters in the capital Abuja.

The biggest problem in following Nigeria is that there simply isn't enough information out there. That and time -- I used to have time to read for an hour before writing. now in an hour I will be far into the next thing; and articles about Nigeria are hard to come by.
I think the news is alarming, though. With the oil and gas sector in such turmoil in Nigeria, I would, off the cuff, expect to hear that Nigeria was considering taking over, not selling out. This has got to be bad news. If workers are threatening to strike, it would stand to reason that a sell out is a bad thing -- as in, the government is keeping things from escalating? As in, fewer people can be employed than are now? As in the fact that Nigeria owns the operations is what keeps everyone from full-scale war?

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