Covid-19: DPR charges oil companies to ensure prompt payment of remunerations, allowances to employees

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By Ikenna Omeje

As the oil and gas industry continues to confront the disruptions and economic challenges occasioned by Covid-19 global  pandemic, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has charged oil and gas companies in Nigeria to ensure prompt payment of all remunerations and allowances to their employees.

The regulatory body, which disclosed this in a notice signed by its management titled, “Re: Management of Covid-19 outbreak –Update 5”, said that it is happy with the performance of oil and gas firms in the country in managing Covid-19 in their areas of operations.

DPR noted that from its records, the performance of the oil and gas companies in the country in managing the virus in their areas of operations, is above global average.

It stated that the relative success is as a result  of the industry players collective sacrifices in implementing enhanced measures of the recent Circulars issued by it (DPR) in line with the guidelines of World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The Department reiterated that the contents of its earlier circulars (DPR/1160/A/Vol.II/48 dated 20th March 2020, DPR/1160/A/Vol.II/49 dated 23rd March 2020, DPR/1160/A/Vol.II/53 dated 22nd April 2020, DPR/1160/A/Vol.II/54 dated 30th April 2020) are still relevant.

The DPR averred that for continued implementation of the modified rotation schedule and other measures, especially in the face of resurgence of the Virus in many parts of the world, collaboration with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG) is crucial.

It enjoined the unions to sustain their cooperative spirit with their respective Management whilst each company ensures  provision of conducive work-place environment and maintenance of work-life balance.

The notice reads: “The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is pleased to acknowledge the superior performance of the Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry in managing the COVID-19 pandemic in our areas of operations which, from our records, is above global industry average. This relative success is the result of our collective sacrifices in implementing enhanced measures of the recent Circulars issued by DPR in line with the Guidelines of World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“By the same token, the Department is continually monitoring key indices across the industry vis-à-vis national outlook and regional/ global spread of the deadly virus. Accordingly, whilst recognizing our modest achievements, we cannot rest on our oars given that we belong in a peculiar industry which is also the live wire of national economy.

“Consequently, we wish to reiterate that the contents of our earlier circulars (DPR/1160/A/Vol.II/48 dated 20th March 2020, DPR/1160/A/Vol.II/49 dated 23rd March 2020, DPR/1160/A/Vol.II/53 dated 22nd April 2020, DPR/1160/A/Vol.II/54 dated 30th April 2020) are still relevant. These include the requirements on offshore rotation cycle, for maintenance of transit centers and on COVID-19 testing prior to embarkation, amongst others.  Other company-specific measures (not in conflict with the afore-mentioned DPR Guides) may be implemented subject to the Department’s consent.

“At this juncture, it is imperative to reiterate that the collaboration of both Industry Unions (PENGASSAN and NUPENG) is crucial in the continued implementation of the modified rotation schedule and other measures, especially in the face of resurgence of the Virus in many parts of the world. DPR enjoins the unions to sustain the same cooperative spirit with their respective Management whilst each company ensures work-life balance is maintained, provision of conducive work-place environment and timely payment of all renumerations (sic) & allowances to employees. None of the above measures should be an excuse for staff redundancy as we all work together through this challenging period.

“The Department assures you of its continuous support and the implementation of measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on your operations.”

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