The Nigeria Labour Congress has kicked against the new fuel price of N143.8 announced by the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency on Wednesday, saying “this might just be the last straw that would break the camel’s back.”
The congress demanded a reversal of the pump price to the old price, arguing that that the prices of crude oil in the international market had only slightly increased from the previous price before the downward review was announced two months ago.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, in a statement on Thursday, described the hike in the fuel pump price and the proposed electricity tariff hike as “potent threat to run millions of Nigerians under.”
He asked the Federal Government to rehabilitate the refineries and disclose the timelines for this.
Wabba flayed the PPPRA Executive Secretary, Saidu Abdulkadir, for the fuel price hike.
Wabba said, “Government simply wants to transfer the cost of its own inefficiencies to the Nigerian people. Nigerian workers say ‘no’ to such.
“The extra costs that the PPPRA wants Nigerians to pay in order to promote ‘growth’ and ‘investment’ are actually the cost of profits made by countries that we ship our crude oil to, the cost of sea freight of the refined products, the cost of demurrage at our seaports when the refined products arrive, the cost of the frequent devaluation of our national currency, and the cost of official corruption by gatekeepers managing the downstream petroleum sub-sector.”
The Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Dr Timothy Olawale, in an interview with one of correspondents on Thursday, said it was necessary from the price to reversed but demanded for transparency.
Olawale said the PPPRA template should be transparent so that it would reflect the price of fuel in the international market.
According to him, the association has been clamouring for the deregulation of the downstream sector to allow market forces to determine the price of refined petroleum.
The NECA DG stressed that the subsidy removed should be used judiciously for the benefit of the masses.
The acting DG, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Ambrose Oruche, said the pump price of petroleum should be reversed only if the sector would not be totally deregulated.
“What could have helped the economy is total deregulation of the industry,” he said.
Oruche advised that the funds meant for subsidy could be used for infrastructure that would help manufacturing and other sectors to grow.
The Peoples Democratic Party, on the other hand, said the price increase was akin to punishing Nigerians given the prevailing economic hardship foisted on country by the regime.
It said, the hike, despite the decline price of crude oil in the international market, was unjustifiable and further exposed the insincerity of the APC and its regime.
This was contained in a statement signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, in Abuja, on Thursday.
According to the party, directing a fuel price increase at the time Nigerians are facing the economic and social trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd),-led APC administration shows a total lack of human feelings to the plights of our citizens.