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TOTAL SWEEP! Why NNPC Sacked 850 Workers

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As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through the globe, with businesses finding it difficult to reach or exceed targeted revenues, workers have either been laid off or had their salaries slashed.

An oil union on Tuesday disclosed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has sacked 850 workers, many of them from refineries, amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The workers are both skilled and unskilled contractors, including technicians who helped maintain Nigeria’s oil refineries, said Lumumba Okugbawa, general secretary of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), speaking on the phone.

The NNPC is yet to make a comment on the recent development.

Layoffs in Nigeria’s oil sector are a tense issue, with frequent stand-offs between the NNPC and unions. Nigeria is dependent on crude sales to prop up its struggling economy, now at risk of its worst recession in four decades due to the coronavirus and the pandemic tanking global oil prices.

With Nigeria’s refineries been barely operational, almost all of the country’s fuel supply is processed overseas at great cost, despite Nigeria being Africa’s largest crude producer.

The recent sack by the NNPC comes after the corporation, in May, said it had more than 6,600 staff.

In the tail-end of the first quarter of 2020, oil prices hit its lowest, however, AFnews reported on Wednesday that oil prices soared as a COVID-19 vaccine showed promising results.

Oil prices edged higher after a June report from Opec showed the oil-producing group’s output had fallen almost 2m barrels from a month ago.

With the news of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, Brent crude, the international benchmark, added 0.5 per cent to $43.10 a barrel while US marker West Texas Intermediate rose the same degree to $40.49.

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