The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday directed its members and affiliates to begin nationwide protests and service withdrawals on Wednesday if the federal government does not compel the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) to reverse the increase in petrol pump prices.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC), on the other hand, rejected the striking option and resolved to continue talks with the government’s negotiating team on the thorny issue of gasoline subsidy withdrawal.
President Bola Tinubu declared the abolition of gasoline subsidies during his inaugural speech on Monday, May 29. “Subsidy is gone,” Tinubu declared.
On May 31, the NNPCL announced new pump rates according on states, with Borno State having the highest price of N540 per litre of fuel.
Some government representatives also met with NLC officials to discuss the issues, but the meeting ended in a stalemate.
The NLC rejected the petrol price increase after a three-hour emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja yesterday, adding that workers are also demanding a comprehensive probe of the entire fuel subsidy regime to uncover the fraudulent activities that have occurred over the years.
Following the NEC meeting, NLC president Joe Ajaero told journalists that the Congress had resolved to mobilize workers nationally to force NNPCL “to withdraw the N540 per litre illegal fuel price template.”
While reading out the NEC resolution, Ajaero stated, “whereas the NNPC has refused to tell us the landing cost of imported PMS up to this moment, whereas the NNPC has refused to disclose the beneficiaries of the subsidy payments, the NLC is hereby calling for proper investigation of the subsidy process to know who the beneficiaries are and the amount that was involved and to investigate it properly before it is swept under the carpet.”That the current attempt to sweep the dishonest activities of the subsidy regime under the rug should not be condoned by all well-meaning Nigerians.
“That the NEC in session directed that the leadership of the NLC should be cautious of negotiating with people without portfolio, that it should wait until government is properly constituted and the people who will negotiate with labour are such people with mandate and capacity for being in the government of the day. “Consequently, the NLC decided that if by Wednesday next week, the NNPC, a private limited liability company that illegally announced the new price regime for the oil sector refuses to reverse itself for negotiations to continue, the NLC and all its affiliates will withdraw their services and commence protest nationwide until this is complied with. “That NNPC doesn’t have the monopoly to act illegally even as a private company. NLC NEC therefore directs all state councils and all industrial unions to commence mobilisation from this moment to make sure that the action is in force.”
“Even as a private company, NNPC does not have the monopoly to act illegally.” As a result, the NLC NEC instructs all state councils and industrial unions to begin mobilization immediately in order to ensure that the action remains in force.”
President Tinubu stated on Monday, when announcing the removal of subsidies, that the revenue will be used to boost other industries.
The Trade Union Congress and the NLC, however, branded Tinubu and the NNPCL’s move as a “joke taken too far.”
Earlier, Femi Falana, SAN, presented a presentation on subsidy elimination at the NLC NEC emergency meeting in Abuja.
He called the NNPCL’s decision to set new petrol pump pricing illegal.
Falana stated that he will take the NNPCL’s unconstitutional decision to court.
Ajaero, who spoke before Falana, asked for a public investigation of the operation of the federal government’s disputed gasoline subsidy program.
“Nigeria has always been faced with the vicious circle of subsidy withdrawal or no subsidy withdrawal without anyone really taking the time to interrogate its meaning and operation,” stated the NLC president.
“Subsidy now appears to be a cat with many lives for every government that comes to power in Nigeria, and they will always announce subsidy removal, with the meaning of subsidy withdrawal to them being an increase in fuel price.” So, one morning, we awoke to
So, one morning, we awoke to find out that the subsidy had vanished, on the day of his (Tinubu’s) inauguration, without a government and without going to the National Assembly.”However, we were told that the budget had provisions for it to terminate by the end of June. We don’t know if there was any vehement or budget adjustment. All we knew was that NNPCL, a private corporation, had announced a fuel price increase. “We are wondering if it is the function of a public liability company to fix petroleum product prices.”And the amount of impunity is deplorable in the sense that the problem of subsidy has not been thoroughly investigated all these years.
And for anybody to close that chapter is like covering fraud.”
Ajaero said the reason for summoning an emergency meeting of NEC was to enable the congress to interrogate some of the fuel subsidy issue and to know how it was disbursed and who and who was collecting this subsidy money and how they have collected.
“It is not enough to say we are paying subsidy because if the report we are getting about the landing cost of the product is correct, it means that NNPCL is making more than 100 percent profit from imported PMS,” he said.
TUC Opts for Fur