Nigeria has announced a five percent cut in its crude oil production and exports. Officials attribute the decision to a decline in international demand and disruptions of operations by militants in the Niger Delta. Analysts say the cut will drastically affect the country's budget, which relies heavily on oil revenues. Attacks by militants have reduced Nigeria's overall production by 20 percent.
Elijah Okougbo is general secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG). He says the cut in oil production may not have a significant effect on the overall workforce in the oil sector.
" Five percent cut on production quarter is not going to have a significant effect on workers in the oil sector, from past experience, since the Niger Delta crisis started, most of the multi-national s who were adversely affected by the crisis and stop production carried a lot of their workers, they kept them on stand-by and did not go ahead to sack them immediately. There is every hope that the OPEC quota will change after two months.
He says the overall impact of the cut may not be too difficult for the country to manage. " I think it will only affect if it is on for six months. It will affect the economy in the sense that it may in one way or the other negatively affect the budget not oil and gas workers because that percentage is marginal and OPEC may rescind that decision after some time".
Okougbo says oil workers are not responsible for the country problems in meeting its production and export quota contrary to government claims.
" It was only during the June 12 struggle when we confronted the
government the military government of
[Gen] Babangida in 1993 and went on strike for some days so the military should quit the stage, that we
were accused of economic sabotage and then we started a major strike which
lasted nine weeks, that was the only time we were accused".