The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has laid off around 850 workers as a result of the market uncertainty due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Most of the redundancies were from refineries and included contractors and technicians, Reuters reported citing a local oil union.

In May, NNPC had more than 6,600 employees.

Reuters cited PENGASSAN general secretary Lumumba Okugbawa as saying that the workers who have been fired include both skilled and unskilled contractors, who contributed to maintaining the country’s oil refineries.

Nigeria is the biggest producer of oil in Africa. Petroleum exports are the country’s major source of revenue.

Anadolu Agency cited two Nigeria’s petroleum workers unions namely, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN), as saying that the mass firing will affect thousands of families.

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By GlobalData

A total of 33,616 cases and 754 deaths due to Covid-19 have so far been confirmed in Nigeria.

The World Bank predicts that the country’s economy will sink by 3.2%-7.4% this year. This is, however, based on the severity of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Last week, Africa’s top crude oil exporter Nigeria’s excess crude account (ECA) dropped to $72.41m as of 7 July, a figure announced by the country’s finance minister just a day after seven people were killed in an explosion at the Gbetiokun oil field in southern Niger Delta region.

According to the NNPC, the explosion occurred during the installation of a ladder on a platform.

In August 2015, NNPC cancelled its previously signed offshore processing agreements (OPAs) with the Duke Oil Company, Aiteo Energy Resources, and Sahara Energy Resources (Nig).