The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has denounced the latest increase in the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, from N160 to N170 by the Federal Government demanding for immediate reversal.
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, NLC’s President, in a statement released on the official website of the union, said that the recent increase was pointing towards the direction that government has refused to keep up with its end of the bargain to take serious steps in recovering and repositioning public refineries.
Recall that in September the union had canceled a nationwide protest following an agreement with the Federal Government that the then hike in electricity tariff will be suspended for a period of 2 weeks, while the pump price of petrol remain unchanged as government planned to reposition refineries. The government, through NNPC on Friday, however, announced an upward review of the price to 170.
He said “the recent increase in the pump price of PMS is clearly against the spirit and content of what Organized Labour agreed with government at the last negotiations over the last fuel price increase”
“It has also cast in very bad light our utmost good faith 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” he added.
According to him, the country’s present “precarious” economic condition is majorly because the government isn’t conscious of it’s responsibilities.
“Nigerians cannot be made to bleed endlessly for the failures of successive government to properly manage our refineries, ensure value for money for the numerous Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) which were poorly and barely executed and the horrifying lack of interest in prosecuting public officials and private business people who have profited from the rot in our petroleum sector and the collective misery they have imposed on the general population”
While waiting on updates from union’s representatives in the petroleum sector “given the mandate to keep surveillance on government promise to overhaul public refineries”, Wabba gave series of suggestions to the government on how to eliminate high prices of refined petroleum products in the country.
This includes declaring a state of emergency in the downstream petroleum sector, government entering into contract refining with refineries closer home to Nigeria, government demonstrating the will to stamp out the smuggling of petroleum products out of Nigeria, government carrying Nigerians along on the distribution of refined petroleum products.
The NLC also calls on government to review the entire process of licensing for modular and bigger refineries.