Fuel Price War: NLC Issues Ultimatum

NLC Strike Day One: Benue Witnesses Partial Compliance


The factional leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress under Comrade Joe Ajaero has given the Federal Government till Tuesday to reverse the fuel price hike or face mass industrial action.

The communique issued issued at the end if it’s meeting in Lagos published in full below contains other demands of the group:

The emergency Central Working Committee (CWC) Meeting of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) which held on Saturday, the 14th day of may in Lagos after critically assessing the recent hike in the price of petrol announced by the Junior Minister of Petroleum – Ibe Kachikwu under the guise of deregulating the downstream sector of the Petroleum Industry and understanding its implications for lives and living in Nigeria and concluding that it is capable of putting  in peril and further exacerbating the crushing poverty that has already held the masses in its thralls, observes as follows:

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That the announcement by the junior minister of Petroleum – Ibe Kachikwu Wednesday evening increasing the price of petrol by about 67.63% (N86.50/litre to N145/litre ) was a rude shock and can only be described as callous and unfeeling. This is coming at the heels of the recent assurances by the Minister that the Government is not in any way planning to increase the price of petroleum products through the convoluted subsidy regime.

That this Government is totally anti-masses and wired against the poor. since assuming office; it has hiked electricity tariff by about 45% and went ahead to implement it despite court ruling to the contrary; it has allowed the exchange rate to deteriorate to N365 to the US Dollar; has introduced stamp duty on deposit in Banks and has pronounced a 100% increase in VAT, has banned the importation of “I better pass my neighbour” generators which serves mainly the poor. It has not done a single thing for the poor.

That this Government has chosen to deceive her citizens. It chose not to consult deeply with all stakeholders in the country before embarking on such a far reaching decision that has deep and serious consequences on the lives and living of the people of this nation especially when there is already a stakeholder understanding on the pathway for the Government to exit whatever subsidy still remains in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. We have set the conditions for full deregulation of the sector which will allow the price of products to be determined freely by market imperatives. We all agreed with the Government that the pathway to this is for the refineries to come on stream so that domestic consumption will be satisfied internally and importation of products stopped completely. This we believe will allow Nigerians pay a more realistic and reasonable price for the product and assist the nation maintain most of its macro-economic variables in a positive way.

That it is therefore irresponsible for this Government to unilaterally hike the price of Petrol without considering the existing understanding of industry stakeholders. We believe that it is disdainful and totally contemptuous on the part of the Government against Nigerian workers and peoples.

That the falsehood innate in this action can be seen in the mindless subterfuge this Government employed in pushing Nigerians into this ignoble cesspit. It is wrong for a Government to intentionally foist suffering on the citizenry so as to create an environment where the citizenry will be compelled Willy-nilly to accept whatsoever hike it intends. It is evil for Government to create artificial scarcity of petroleum products grinding the citizenry to the dust and extorting N250/litre of PMS as gleefully acknowledged by the honourable Minister. This is Machiavellian and a complete breach of trust. Nigerians are truly being taken for a ride by those in Government.

That it is paradoxical that Government is talking about deregulation yet, it is fixing prices. What exactly does it want to do or Has Ibe Kachikwu become Market force? This is clearly an attempt to stabilise and sustain the increased poverty which this Government has foisted on the masses and workers of this nation.

That in its undue haste to satisfy the ever burgeoning appetite of its economic wing, the Government chose an increase of N58.50 which is N42.50 more than what it had earlier told Nigerians was the cost of subsidy per litre of PMS. It is unconscionable for a Government that ought to have the interest of the people at heart to now seek to grind out a profit margin this huge from this same people according to its own calculations.

That it is becoming clear whose interest Nigerian Government is serving with this perfidy. It is now very clear on whose side this Government stands. Every remaining doubts as to the direction this Government is taking this nation has been erased from the minds of Nigerian workers and masses. We have come to the conclusion that this Government if allowed the opportunity may allow itself to be misled by greedy and unconscionable individuals who have set up toll booths in front of our petrol depots and receiving points to extract rent from Nigerians. It has totally disconnected itself from the people.

That Nigerians should ask this simple question; why has the Government found it very difficult to refurbish the existing refineries and bring them to full capacity or build new refineries to make us self-sufficient in petroleum products? Simple! It creates opportunities for the ruling elite to continue extorting money from hapless citizens.

The Congress therefore decided that we reject this unholy hike in the price of petrol but shall take active steps to ensure that whatsoever philosophy or idea that must have propelled it is erased in the process. We shall also ensure that this Government removes all supply bottle-necks that makes product availability to the citizenry difficult. To this end we resolve as follows:

That the federal Government reverses its illegal decision to hike the pump price of PMS to N145/litre between now and Tuesday Midnight.

That the federal Government convokes a meeting of all the relevant stakeholders if it is desirous of taking any action in the industry with far reaching consequences on the citizenry

Government must engage the core stakeholders including the leadership of the industrial Unions in the Oil and Gas sector and the NLC that represents them.

That were Government fails to heed these calls and correct itself; we shall be forced to call out Nigerian workers and masses out in the streets of Nigeria to shut the critical sectors of this economy down as long as it shall take to force this Government to subject itself to the desires of the people.

Meanwhile, a Joint Action Committee to fine tune the Strategies and actions for this struggle has been set-up for a mass action.

Comrade Joe Ajaero                        Comrade Onyeka Chris

(President)                                (Ag. General Secretary)

Source: http://sahelstandard.com/index.php/2016/05/14/fuel-price-war-nlc-issues-ultimatum/



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