The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, on Thursday threatened to ask workers to stay at home if the federal government does not find immediate solution to the recurring problem of petroleum products scarcity in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other parts of the country.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the perennial shortage of petroleum products, especially petrol, made it increasingly difficult for workers to get to their work stations on time, resulting in the loss of huge man-hours.
“Scarcity of petroleum products has caused long queues at most fuel stations that have fuel, while many more closed their gates with claims of non-availability of the products,” Mr. Wabba said.
“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, must immediately intervene in the current hardship imposed by the scarcity of petroleum products. We will be compelled to tell workers to stay at home should the scarcity persists,” he added.
He said the greatest frustration has been that Nigerians were yet to be told by government what the cause of the current scarcity was, adding that Labour believes government would not allow any individual or corporate organisations sabotage efforts to restore sanity and good governance in all facets of our society.
Mr. Wabba said it was obvious the on-going fuel scarcity was a calculated sabotage by petroleum products marketers to sell the products at high prices for more profits.
“Petroleum products, especially petrol is key to our economy as it is what powers commuters, including workers, offices and businesses. The delays motorists contend with in long queues at petrol stations have led to loss of unimaginable man hours which have impacted negatively on our economy,” he pointed out.
The NLC president called on the government to strongly intervene, by sending out appropriate agencies, especially the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to enforce the sale of the products, as some fuel marketers were found to be hoarding the commodity.
Reiterating the call by Labour for the speedy reactivation of local production of petroleum products, Mr. Wabba said Nigerians would continue to be held hostage by global economic manipulations if the country remained tied to importation of petroleum products, despite the availability of sufficient resources to produce fuel for local consumption and export.
He blamed the poor situation on bad governance, misplaced priorities and corruption, which have almost killed the petroleum industry, adding that government must think seriously about revamping the industry within one year.
Citing the examples of Niger Republic, where one of the best refineries was reportedly built within a year, the NLC President said nothing stops the Buhari administration from doing same in Nigeria.
He said despite the poor state of the country’s four refineries, they were still considered some of the best in the world, whose capacities could be turned around and upgraded through an effective turn around maintenance, TAM.
“The refineries are not beyond repairs. They have been abandoned to ensure Nigerians are ambushed by proponents of privatization who believe every sector must be privatized. Those advocating for the sale of the refineries are waiting to buy them, because they know the refineries are still one of the best,” he said.
He said the NLC was convinced the recurring scarcity of petroleum products was part of the roadmap designed by forces who wish to hoodwink Nigerians into accepting privatisation of the refineries.
The NLC, he warned, would not accept any arrangement where major oil companies operating in Nigeria would ship the country’s crude for refining in their refineries in other countries and sell refined products to the country through importers of petroleum products.
Government, he said, must demonstrate seriousness in the country’s collective affairs through decisive interventions in revamping the petroleum industry and stamping out corruption.
“We can’t continue to be import dependent and expect our economy to grow,” Mr. Wabba stated.
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