The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government; to announce the withdrawal of its plans to increase the pump price of petrol in the country.
The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, made this appeal in a letter; jointly signed by Mr Emanuel Ugboaja, the General Secretary of the congress; and addressed to state governors on Monday, January 24, in Abuja.
The letter is titled: “Petition by Nigerian workers against the proposed increase in the price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS)”.
According to Wabba, the NLC writes to draw attention to the recent proposal by the federal government to increase the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol anytime from now.
”It is the well-considered view of Nigerian workers as conveyed through the leadership of NLC; that the proposed hike if it goes through, would induce and impose an unprecedented degree of hardship; on Nigerian workers, their families and the generality of the populace.
”The net and multiplier effects of such socio-economic dislocation especially with regards to a decent standard of living, productivity and national security are better imagined than experienced.
”Nigerian workers understand that government pays an out significant amount of money as so-called petrol subsidy.
”Nigerian workers also appreciate the fact that the monies spent on the so-called petrol subsidy would be totally unnecessary if the government is alive to its responsibilities of proper management of critical national assets especially our local refineries,” he said.
The NLC president also noted that it was the mismanagement of the four public oil refineries by successive governments that opened the floodgates of mass importation of refined petroleum products.
He further said that this has consequently unfurled incessant increases in the prices of refined petroleum products in Nigeria.
He added that the fact is very clear – there is no way a country can control the price of what it does not produce.
”For a critical national security product like petrol and other refined petroleum derivatives, the situation is akin to handing over our national sovereignty to other climes.
”There is no better description of neo-colonialism and toxic neo-liberalism than this,” he said.
The NLC president said Nigerian workers believed that the scourge of incessant hikes; in the pump price of petrol is self-inflicted and therefore totally unacceptable.
Wabba, therefore, said NLC demanded that the federal government should announce the withdrawal of its plans; to increase the pump price of petrol.
He also said the federal government should re-engage organised Labour in Nigeria in discussions; in order to find mutually acceptable solutions to the current quagmire; in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sub-sector.
”The Federal Government should demonstrate seriousness and commitment to overhauling our local refineries; as a lasting panacea to mass importation of refined petroleum products.
”That is importation Pricing Model, and a host of lost opportunities; official corruption and self-inflicted dislocations; occasioned by mass importation of refined petroleum products into Nigeria.
”Governments at all levels in Nigeria should take immediate steps to improve governance and public accountability.
”This is in order to regain the confidence of Nigerians that the cardinal constitutional mandate of guaranteeing the welfare and security of Nigerians has not been traded off,” he said.