NLC, TUC demand end to crippling fuel price hike of N240 per litre, scarcity

By Chimezie Godfrey

The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have called on the federal government to put to end fuel price hike of up to N240 in the country.

This was contained in a statement jointly signed the Presidents of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and TUC, Comrade Festus Osifo made available to the press on Saturday in Abuja.

According to the statement, the leadership of the both unions are seriously bewildered and disturbed by the persistent shortage and uncontrollable prices that players in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry are meting out ‘to Nigerians.

It decried the persistent shortages of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol in the country has become a source of pain to the Nigerian people, adding that ihas led not just to long avoidable queues, adulteration of the product by the unscrupulous elements; exploitation of the consumers, turning fuel stations to traffic menace, but that all these also have tragic consequences for the Nigerian people and debilitating effects on the health of the economy which itself is not in a good state.

The leadership revealed that they were reliably informed that the shortage has been deliberately fostered by players in the downstream sector in other to hike the price far above the government approved threshold, adding that it was an added problem when non-state actors begin to arrogate to themselves the power to determine the price of a liter of fuel far above the rate pegged by government in the current subsidy regime.

It stated,”The Nigerian people and tax payers currently expense several trillions of Naira annually to subsidize petrol. The same people cannot be exploited and made to pay over N240 per liter when the current ex-depot price is currently fixed at N 148.19k per liter. The opportunity cost of the subsidy payment is enormous and yet the benefit of the subsidy regime is gradually been eroded.

“No country develops when its people are subjected to perennials hardship and its industries are shackled by unnecessary chains of miseries.

“It is more disturbing that the government is equally demonstrating high level of culpability in the unwholesome situation by its silence and unwillingness to frontally and publicly address the harrowing experiences of Nigeria in the current situation because no concerned and responsive government will bury its head in the sands like the proverbial Ostrich while the citizens are being brutally exploited.

“For the records, no private individual or companies are importing a litre of PMS into this Country, all Products are imported by the government and there is no record whatsoever that the agency of government thåt is importing the products has added a kobo to the price it sells the Products to the Marketers. Then who is benefiting from this racketeering?

“We are strongly worried that leaving our energy security and sovereignty in the hands of unscrupulous capitalists and their collaborators will further plunge this nation into the economic abyss we are working hard to avoid.

“The labour centers therefore demand of the Federal Government an end to the avoidable, unnecessary, crippling and pain-inducing fuel shortages and unapproved price hike of up to N240 in the country. No excuse is good enough to cripple the country. If there are challenges, they should be fixed; we have a government in power to fix challenges not to make excuses.”

The leadership stressed that the organised labour are ready and willing to engage the Federal Government and assist in all ways possible to overcome the country’s present challenges. “But we caution it not to take either the Labour Movement nor the Nigerian people for granted as it seems to be manifestly doing on various crucial national issues.

“Regulatory and law enforcement agencies should do more to protect the larger Nigeria society from exploitation,” the leadership stated.