Members of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have have kicked against the recently imposed helicopter landing charges by the federal ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development.

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In a joint statement on Thursday by NUPENG’s General Secretary Afolabi Olawale and PENGASSAN’s General Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, noted that the timing of the imposition of the fee was wrong, especially during this period of economic hardship for businesses and citizens.

“These new charges, which include a four per cent charge on the gross revenue of helicopter operators, as well as additional levies and taxes, pose a grave threat to the sustainability and viability of the helicopter transport sector that is critical to Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

“We recall that a recent memo directed helicopter operators to compulsorily pay for helicopter landing fees at all Nigerian aerodromes helipads, airstrips, floating production storage, and offloading units, floating storage, and offloading units, and other oil platforms to generate more revenue to the Federal Government,” they stated.

The petroleum workers said it was very insensitive at a time when the Federal Government was shopping for investors in the oil and gas industry and muting various incentives to make the industry attractive.

The unions pointed out that the oil and gas industry is a critical component of Nigeria’s economy, and the helicopter operators serving the sector play a vital role in its success.

“These operators provide essential transportation services, moving personnel and equipment to offshore platforms and remote locations, ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of the industry.

“This unpopular decision has a detrimental impact on the sector, as this incremental cost is going to be passed on to the chartering companies, who will, in turn, transfer the burden to the employees in the sector. We hereby demand the withdrawal of this policy immediately in the overall interest of the country.

“We strongly urge the Ministry of Aviation to immediately withdraw the landing fees on helicopter operators servicing the oil and gas industry. This would not only provide much-needed relief to the sector but also demonstrate your commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment and supporting the growth and development of this crucial industry,” the workers declared.