By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Monday, rejected the fresh hike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, commonly known as petrol, which took effect last Friday, demanding for immediate reversal.
In a statement by the President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, Congress warned that there was a limit to what the citizens could tolerate “if these abysmal increases in the price of refined petroleum products and other essential goods and services continued”.
In the statement, Wabba said given the current inflation, the recent increase in the pump price of the fuel exacerbated the level of pain and anguish in the country.
He noted that the increase was against “the spirit and content of what Organised Labour agreed with government at the last negotiations over the last fuel price increase.”
He added: “It has also cast our utmost good faith in very bad light with regards to government explanations that it lacks funds to continue bankrolling the so-called subsidy payments, as such would sooner than later cripple the entire economy, throw the country into severe economic crisis and cause loss of jobs in millions.”
NLC expressed regret that the government could not ensure full value for the numerous Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) which were poorly and/or barely executed and the horrifying lack of interest in prosecuting public officials and private business people who have profited from the rot in the petroleum sector.
Labour said: “There is a limit to what the citizens can tolerate if these abysmal increases in the price of refined petroleum products and other essential goods and services continue.”
Offering solutions the fuel crisis, NLC said the government should declare a state of emergency in the downstream petroleum sector, enter into contract refining with refineries closer to the country and ensure that the cost of supplying of crude oil is negotiated away from prevailing international market rate.
Wabba added, among others, that “Government should also demonstrate the will to stamp out the smuggling of petroleum products out of Nigeria.
“We need to see big-time petroleum smugglers arraigned in the court of law and made to pay for their crimes against the Nigerian people.
“The question in the minds of many Nigerians is if the government is willing to go headlong against major financiers of the major political parties known to the public as the architects of the current national woe.
“We also demand that Nigerians should be carried along on the distribution of refined petroleum products and information of the distribution of petroleum products to petrol stations should be advertised and made public knowledge.”