The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned that the Nigerian people and workers would resist the plot or any attempt by the Federal Government to increase the fuel pump price to N234 per litre, in the face of severe hardship being faced by the masses.
The congress, however, supported the move by the Federal Government to fix the refineries, but said a due diligence and transparency should be deployed in committing resources to make sure the refineries are working.
The Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari, has said last week that a litre of petrol also known as Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) may soon be sold for N234 per litre.
Kyari explained that the new price is being contemplated because the NNPC can no longer sustain the monthly subsidy of N120 billion ($263,248 million) in dispensing the product at the current rate.
He emphasized that the NNPC could no longer afford to bear the cost, adding that sooner or later Nigerians would have to pay the actual cost for the commodity.
He said: “Today, NNPC is the sole importer of petrol. We are importing at market price and we are selling at N162. Looking at the current price situation, the market price could have been between N211 and N234 per litre.”
But the President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, who gave the position of Labour while speaking to journalists at the weekend said the organized Labour would not allow inefficiency of the system that past and present governments have not been able to address be transferred to the ordinary Nigerians.
He stated that the NLC and Nigerians would resist the attempt to increase the pump price, warning that Nigerians are at the brinks and have been pushed to the wall.
Wabba said: “As we have said clearly, Nigerians and NLC will continue to resist this imposition on us. In fact, Nigerians are at the brink, we have been pushed to the wall and many cannot even afford a meal per day. Therefore, increasing the price of this important commodity will exacerbate the current bad situation.
“We have said it very clearly that we would continue to resist this anti-people and neoliberal policies that were imposed on Nigeria by Bretton Woods Institutions. There is no way we would allow inefficiency of our system that past and present governments have not been able to address be transferred to ordinary Nigerians.”
The NLC president lamented that as a oil producing country, Nigeria is the only country in the world that imports refined products.
Rather than imposing another hardship on the masses, Wabba said the Nigerian citizens at this time require palliatives and not additional hardship.
He emphasized that the Nigerian people should be seen to enjoy the proceed as a oil producing country whenever the price of crude oil goes up in the international market, but regretted that what should bring an advantage to the masses was rather being translated to hardship by Nigerian Government.
The NLC president said: “In the midst of the price of crude oil price going up, which should be an advantage to all of us, it should not actually be a burden that we will now be lamenting that the price have gone up instead of us benefiting as Nigerians.”
He stated that government must, therefore, find ways and means of making sure that Nigerians are protected against the evil policy of neoliberal forces.
He pointed out that the solution lies in Nigeria refining its fuel, for both domestic use and exportation, hence he said the NLC and the organized Labour supported the move by the government to fix the nation’s refineries.
According to Wabba, “we cannot continue driving this process of deregulation on the basis of importation. Yes, we agreed that the refineries will be revitalised which I think is important. I think the argument is at what cost, which I think we don’t have the fact to talk about. But on the basis of principle, we support the issue of fixing of our refineries.”
He, however, added: “The cost is what people have been arguing about; that the cost is higher. So, a due diligence and transparency should be deployed in even committing resources to make sure the refineries are working.
“We support the idea of reviving the refineries, but the issue of the cost component because we are not competent to know what will be the cost. We cannot be able to argue the cost but we urge government to be transparent in the process of putting those figures and the procedures, so that Nigerians will be able to examine those figures whether they are figures that can revive the refineries and without also complaining.
“But in terms of support, we support that our refineries should work because if the refineries are working it is obvious that the landing cost of petroleum should not be more than N140 per litre.”