Resist fuel price hike by govt, NLC urges Nigerians - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

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Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Resist fuel price hike by govt, NLC urges Nigerians

By Our Correspondent


Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the people to join the organized worker’s movement to resist any attempt by the government to hike the price of petroleum products. 

NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, made the call at the 5th Delegates Conference of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, in Lagos.

He said that there is no way the organized labour would allow inefficiency of the Nigerian system that past and present government refused to address, now be transferred to ordinary Nigerians. 

“Already Nigerians are at the brink. In fact, we have been pushed to the wall and many cannot even afford a meal per day. Therefore, increasing the price of this important commodity will exacerbate the current bad situation.

“We have said it very clear that we would continue to resist this anti-people and neo-liberal policies that were imposed on Nigeria by Bretton Woods Institutions. We said that without mincing words, those are some of the policies that we think have been a reoccurring decimal and have not been able to address our developmental challenges. 

Take, for instance, Nigeria as an oil-producing country, we are the only country in the world that imports refined products. And this issue of fuel increase has been on for 20 years, whether in the name of deregulation or price increase.

“There have been the same issue and the argument have been the same and therefore Nigerians cannot bear the additional burden, particularly workers. 

We have some of the states that are not even paying the N30,000 minimum wage and in some states, the salary is not even regular. 

Do you now want to add salt to injury by now increasing the price of this very important commodity? As we have said clearly, Nigerians and NLC will continue to resist this imposition on us. 

I think this period is even more challenging because we are aware many people have lost their jobs, the unemployment statistics are extremely high, the poverty level is something also that cannot be comprehended despite our enormous resources. But we have not been able to utilize these resources for the benefit of all.”
 
On government claims that it has agreed with Labour on total deregulation, Wabba said that “after the meeting with government representatives, we spoke about our position, which is that we cannot continue driving this process of deregulation on the basis of importation.

“Yes, we agreed that the refineries will be revitalized which I think is important. I think the argument is at what cost? which I think we don’t have the fact to talk about. But on the basis of principle, we support the issue of fixing our refineries. 

It is something that labour has been on the table with the government for the past 20 years, to say no we cannot continue to import as the only oil country that is importing refined products.  

“We should be able to refine and the principle of fixing the refineries is something we support. The cost is what people have been arguing about that the cost is higher. 

So, due diligence and transparency should be deployed in even committing resources to make sure the refineries are working”,