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 Nigeria Labour Congress demands a reversal of the pump price to the old price, disagreeing 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” as he asks 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, noting that “he did not even feign pretence that government has abdicated its responsibility to protect Nigerians from the cut-throat tendencies of neo-liberal market forces.”
Wabba nevertheless noted that Nigerians would recall that the last downward review in the price of petrol was at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown and that the economic benefits of the so-called “downward” review were hardly enjoyed by ordinary Nigerians who were mostly indoors.
He pointed out that just as the lockdown is being eased out and as soon as the interstate travel ban was lifted, the government decided to hike the petrol price. Nigerian people and workers will be forced to interpret this move as grand mischief and deceit.
“It is clear even to the blind that the crisis in our downstream petroleum sub-sector is ‘self’ nay government-inflicted.”
The congress attributed the crisis in the downstream sector to the refusal by successive governments to fix the national oil refineries.
The government simply wants to transfer the cost of its own inefficiencies to the Nigerian people. Nigerian workers say ‘No’ to such. There is no way Nigerians would accept a situation where we are charged international rates for a product which Nigeria is the sixth-largest producer in the world.
“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 NLC argued.