Former Deputy President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Amaechi Asugwuni, has asserted that there is no going back on the proposed strike scheduled for Wednesday as he claims the Federal Government has not handled the subsidy removal process properly.
This comes amid fuel shortages across the country occasioned by President Bola Tinubu’s inaugural speech in which he declared that “fuel subsidy is gone”.
Speaking on Channels Television Sunrise Daily on Monday, June 5, Asugwuni stated that anything above the current price without a concrete plan for refineries to kickstart would make the country ‘unwise’ before the world.
The labour relations consultant noted that Nigerians are aware of the process of subsidy and expect the government to have a running refinery to carry out a subsidy removal.
“Strike is Inevitable because people know that the Nigerian government was paying subsidies because it is not refining itself. So, doing away with subsidy without you refining after 30 years or more suggests incompetence,” he said.
Asugwuni lamented the government’s dependency on the recently commissioned Dangote petrochemical refinery will not bring down the cost of petrol launch.
“Using Dangote as a yardstick or determinant factor for subsidy removal is laughable. Dangote is Dangote, Dangote is not the federal government and lets us not suggest that Dangote is now richer than Nigeria, it is not true.
“If Dangote can put a refinery in place within a space of years, the Federal government can do more than four refineries of that size in Nigeria. If we subject Nigeria’s market to the Dangote refinery alone, it means that we have transferred the corruption we are running away from to one man,” he said.
The consultant stated that the introduction of the fuel subsidy removal towards the exit of the Buhari government was political to the budget allocation and to the kickstart of the Dangote refinery.
“The awareness of Buhari’s action, even though subsidy ends in his tenure does not end the government of Nigeria. Therefore, the action that they took reflected that after June, come to no subsidy – That was done politically because it was not announced politically, it was hidden under the budget plan,” he said.
According to the ex-NLC deputy, it is illegal for NNPC to increase the price of its product sale, adding that there are forces beyond the control of the NNPC.
“The lawyers have said it is illegal, and therefore NNPC, even though it was legal to do so, I think forces in the market are beyond NNPC.
“Because when you allow market force to determine market price you therefore cannot have a permanent price template otherwise it would look as if the subsidy is still working with some people, especially the NNPC,” he stated.
The Labour consultant lamented that the subsidy removal impact on minimum wage is an economic challenge to the living standard of Nigerians, adding that the subsidy effects are yet to permeate through the market evenly.