The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria has expressed disappointment over last week’s hike in petrol pump price and explained why it agreed with the Federal Government on subsidy removal.
The TUC said it was surprised that the Federal Government “resolved to further impoverish Nigerians with the recent increase”, despite the effort made by the organised labour in the last meeting with the government on hikes in fuel price and electricity tariff.
“This is one increase, too many. Indeed, a violation of all understandings we have had with government,” it said on Tuesday in a statement signed by its President, Mr Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary-General, Mr Musa-Lawal Ozigi.
The congress said, “We recall that at our meeting government appealed that subsidy removal was the only way out, else the economy will collapse and there would be massive job losses. We agreed with them to save the economy and the jobs.
“If the government claims to have ‘deregulated’ the downstream sector of the oil and gas (which of course is subsidy removal), it, therefore, means the independent oil marketers are importing petrol at their own cost.
“Information at our disposal, however, is that no independent marketer is importing fuel, because they cannot access dollars. The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporations is still holding on to that monopoly.”
According to the TUC, to make matters worse, it is the NNPC that instructed the new increase and not the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.
“What a regime of contradictions! NNPC has become a behemoth. ‘The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings’. It appears this fault must be conquered for us to be free,” it said.
The congress said from all indications, the government had again reneged on an agreement reached with the organised labour few weeks ago.
“In few days, the various committees involving government and the organised labour will brief labour and civil society and the outcome of that meeting will determine our next line of action,” it added.