Nigerian workers vow to resist removal of fuel subsidy ‘through back door’

NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba
NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba

Nigerian workers have vowed to vehemently resist any move by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to deregulate operations of the downstream sector of the country’s petroleum industry and remove fuel subsidy through the back door.

The workers’ umbrella body, the Nigeria Labour Congress, said on Tuesday that any attempt by government to adjust the fuel price in the country without recourse to the institution legally authorized to do so would be considered unlawful.

The NLC General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson, said government officials and some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress have in the past few weeks made discordant tunes about the future of petroleum products prices and the management of the subsidy scheme in the country.

The NLC said the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, had initially announced that come next year the price of petrol would revert to ₦97 per litre, while fuel subsidy would be phased out.

However, Mr. Ozo-Eson noted that two days later the Minister had denied the report, claiming that what he said was that fuel price would operate within a band of ₦87 and ₦97, which he said did not mean subsidy removal.

“The same minister now says that the price of petrol will now be ₦85 in January, signifying the deregulation of the sector,” Mr. Ozo-Eson said.

“These vacillations and flip flops are, in our view, designed to confuse Nigerians and pave the way for deregulation of petrol prices through the back door.”

He noted that as long as the country continues to depend on imported refined petroleum products, the decision by government to deregulate the petroleum sector and abolish the subsidy scheme would unleash untold hardship on Nigerians.

Noting that the determination of the recommended prices of petroleum products was, by law, the responsibility of the Petroleum Products Prices Regulatory Agency, the NLC said none of these contradictory prices by Mr. Kachikwu was a product of the agency.

PPPRA is the government agency charged with the responsibility of monitoring and regulating the price of petroleum products in the country.

The NLC said despite repeated demands for the reconstitution of the board of PPPRA, the government has refused to do so for over two years, thereby ensuring the agency did not perform its role for the period.

“We call on the government to be guided by the rule of law and constitute and convene the board of PPPRA in accordance with the law without further delay. This will enable the agency to examine and agree a new pricing template based on the realities of today,” the NLC said.

While restating its opposition to any attempt by government to increase the price of fuel or remove subsidy on petrol, the NLC said “any price unilaterally determined and announced by the minister is in violation of the law.”

The labour movement said it has already directed State Councils and Industrial Unions to commence the process of mobilization prior to a meeting of the National Executive Committee to be convened in the New Year to respond to ensure appropriate response to government’s action on the issues.


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  • Chukwuka Okoroafor

    Buhari is committing political suicide with this.

    • Omo Akin

      Leadership is about taking hard decision in the best interest of the nation. A leader who is guided by political consideration alone will not do what is in the interest of his country but what is politically expedient. Unfortunately, those who take only decisions that is politically expedient end up on the losing side because they never do the right thing. Former President Jonathan is a good example. As of today, I bought a gallon of gasoline (about 4 liters) for $1.67 and the price includes Federal tax a well as State tax. 2 weeks ago it was about $1.86. As a matter of fact, the US Federal Govt and States use the tax on gasoline to maintain roads and bridges.
      But in Nigeria, the Govt spends a trillion Naira on subsidy, yet the average Nigerian does not get to buy the product at the regulated price. The capital budget for 2015 is about 500 billion which is half of what is spent on subsidy; how is this in the best interest of the country? How many people are pocketing these trillion of Naira?
      Chukwuka, how much do you buy gasoline today?

      • Tanko

        ‘those who only take decisions that are politically expedient’??
        For some strange reason, you seem not to recall jonathan attempted removing this same subsidy and the same APC men proposing it now were in the forefront of its opposition then!
        Have you forgotten how the APC hypocrites nearly led the country into a civil war over this issue??

      • Chukwuka Okoroafor

        This is the reason for my position. I know that the subsidy is highly fraudulent, but you should ask how many Nigerians rely on gas powered generators for their electricity to run their homes and/or businesses. How about public transport? This is when prices are rising already for electricity that is not even reliable. The government allows these problems to fester and then proffers a neo-liberal solution that never addresses the original problem. Alternatively, if the government does wish to remove the subsidy, why not assure stable power supply first? That along with the N5,000 payout would help with the initial pain. You have to be ready to cushion the effects and do it properly. That was the big mistake Jonathan made and now it looks like Buhari is doing the same.

  • aisha ani

    The whole thing does not make sense.

  • Labour

    Seriously I don’t know what NLC stands for. They refused to say a word on the mammoth corruption of the Jonathan regime. Their concern should be for the pump price to be less than N100. Whatever government does to arrive at that price should not concern them.

  • International games

    There is no Petrol because the boys in the south who know how to refine are called Criminals. There is no work in Nigeria, that means there are no Workers. So who then is the “Worker” NLC is representing?

  • Omo Akin

    Assuming the leaders of NLC do not understand economics, there ought to be professionals within the the staff who know better. How much is fuel sold in most parts of Nigeria now yet the Govt is paying billions in subsidy? With the subsidy, how much is fuel sold in most parts of Nigeria? Is NLC fronting for those cabals who want to continue to milk Nigeria through the bogus subsidy? What sense does it make for a Govt to spend more than a trillion on fuel subsidy, yet the fuel is not sold at the controlled price? Where will the money NLC wants the Govt to spend on roads come from?
    The same NLC wants every civil servant from the remote village in Yobe to urban center of Port Harcourt to earn the same salary but from the other corner of the mouth talks about true federalism.
    If a supposedly progressive organization as an apex labor movement can be this daft and unreasonable, what hope is there for the country?

    • Lanre A.

      Interestingly, those who were DAFT AND UNREASONABLE were those who grounded the nation to a halt when there was an attempt to remove subsidy by the previous regime. Most of these daft and unreasonable people you refer to are in APC.

  • favourtalk

    Useless PDP and NLC, when nigerians wee determined to resist all this attempt, what did labour did, they went behind our back and took bribe. They won’t see anybody this time around. Let them try rubbish. Shioor

  • Ways Inc

    The question we should ask from NLC is that, when are they going to start fighting for Nigerians that are been used any how by foreigners in their companies here in Nigeria?

  • Du Covenant

    If the NLC has decided o be a problem for Nigerians, we can do without their current leadership.

  • Watch man

    I think NLC should find some more useful things to do. Their protests and strikes over the years have never stopped fuel price changes. In fact, NLC members in all these govt agencies are part of the racket. The bite and glamour of unionism has long gone. NLC is now a projection of management (govt). This is the time to reduce fuel price, build at least six more refineries concurrently and let them complement the old ones. When this is done nobody would be talking about fuel subsidy. This is what NLC should be fighting for through aggressive campaign and engagement. For now, they just want to cause more hardship to the many impoverished people of Nigeria.