Labour to resist removal of fuel subsidy, asks government to make process rather more transparent


*Insists fuel importation is a policy forced on Nigerians *Plans to review World Bank, IMF, FG’s pronouncements

By Favour Goodness

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has advised the federal government to seek means of achieving a transparent subsidy process rather than causing citizens untold hardship by completely removing it.

The Congress also described the continuous importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol to the country by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as a “forced policy” on Nigeria.

President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, stated these in Abuja during an interview with journalists on the sideline of the 48th National Executive Council meeting of Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN).

Ayuba further called on the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure that the amount agreed on the consolidated health salary structure was captured in the 2022 budget to avoid another round of industrial action in the health sector next year.

The NLC President warned political leaders about neglecting good governance in preparation for the 2023 general elections.

He called on Nigerians to be ready to fully mobilize and vehemently reject Federal Government’s unfriendly policies by all means if they are implemented in 2022 as proposed.

He said: “NLC has remained very consistent in its position about the issue of what we call subsidy. The position of NLC is that Nigeria has no reason to continue to import refined products for domestic use particularly PMS because we’ve also found out that we are the only member country of OPEC that is doing that.

“It’s an imposed policy on Nigeria, and our leaders must find a way and means to actually get us out of that imposition. We have made this point very clear that because of the devalued value of our currency, it then means that the policy of importation will continue to have a negative impact on consumers.

“We have seen that with kerosene, we have seen that also with diesel which our government has claimed that they’ve been fully deregulated, but the price has never been at the reach of ordinary Nigerians. Even the cooking gas, people are now using firewood.

“So, the position of NLC remains very consistent that we’ll be against any policy of removing subsidies in the name of deregulation if it is based on importation. And we’ve said so that we export our jobs, and yet our refineries remain under lock and key. It’s a patriotic position that many Nigerians have supported.”

Wabba also disclosed that the Labour movement would converge today (Thursday, December 16) to review many pronouncements made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the Federal Government through the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed on fuel subsidy.

He also warned the government not to transfer its inefficiency to the Nigerian people by inflicting more pains on the masses in 2022, saying N5,000 palliative policy is not sustainable.

Said he: “That remains the official position of NLC. But we are going to meet tomorrow and next tomorrow at the level of the National Executive Council (NEC) to also review some of the pronouncements that have been made by the IMF, by the World Bank and, even by the Nigeria government through the Minister of Finance.

“There will be an official position of the NLC National Executive Council, which is composed of all our State Councils, Presidents and General Secretaries of our 49 affiliates.

“There will be an official statement and actions that will be line up to try to do proper engagement in order to make sure that they don’t impose this policy on Nigerians.

“Today, the costs of goods and services have gone very spiral. Not too many families can have more than one meal on their table per day, therefore, increasing the price of this important commodity which will affect the life of every family.

“It’s not only the 40 million we’re talking about because, whether you like it or not, directly or indirectly, every Nigerian will feel the impact. It’s either you have a car or you use commercial transport or you use a small generator which we call ‘I pass my neighbor’ or you use a small grinding machine.

“There are many factors that have not been considered. As I speak, in 49 countries around the world, energy is still subsidized. So, our own is about making the process transparent, which shall be part of the programme.

“So, instead of making the process very transparent, the policy of the government is about transferring the inefficiency to the Nigerian people, and to continue to pay for the inefficiency which I think is not correct.

“It’s still a misery that despite the fact that diesel and kerosene have been deregulated, the price has never come down even when the price of crude oil at the international market was almost at zero dollar, the price never came back, Nigerians must realize that.

“Market forces are actually for profit and therefore it is not for serving the people. We must realize all of these. Also, in the context of argument, we must also try to compare apples with apples because I saw some of the comparisons, where we are comparing Nigeria with many countries, without looking at what GDP is.

“Per capita income of many of those people we’re comparing with, where subsidy has been removed, they have many means of transportation and the impact could not be felt but in the context of Nigeria, whether you like it or not, the impact will be felt by every family.”

On his part, National President of MHWUN, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah, said it was a doomsday prophecy for the federal government to privatize some public health facilities, warning that MHWUN would use every available means to resist the move.



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