The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has joined the tow unions in the oil and gas sector to kick against the recent 50 kobo slash in the pump price of petrol.
The umbrella workers union in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Mr. John Odah and made available to Shipping Position Weekly reiterated that an import – driven deregulation in pump price will never be in favour of Nigerians.
It also lampooned the oil marketers for failing to comply with the government directives on price reduction, saying that their argument that the depreciation of the naira against the dollar has made a mess of the reduction in the price of crude oil and consequently a commensurate reduction in pump price of products impossible. The labour stressed that the argument that is being canvassed by the marketers has vindicated its position over the years.
It recalled that the position of NLC has always been that “we cannot afford to deregulate the downstream sector and solely depend on the importation of refine petroleum products at the expense of our local refineries.”
“Congress notes with concern the blatant refusal by oil marketers who in the last ten years have benefited by reaping-off Nigerians through high pump prices and adjust their pump prices as soon as an increase is announced to implement the decision of PPPRA on price reduction”.
The NLC urged the Federal Government to enforce its own rule on pump price slash. “We expect government to muster courage to enforce the new price reduction and not to allow Nigerians to take the laws into their hands to enforce the decision of PPPRA adding that it is “callous, grossly insensitive for the new management of NNPC to increase the prices of diesel and black oil at this point in time. We call on the government to retract the increases as the impact on the economy and citizens are very severe.”
It added that the review is unacceptable and that It “ represent a smart way of introducing deregulation through the backdoor. We want to state categorically that Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in keeping with its earlier stance on this issue, is opposed to deregulation of the downstream oil sector in the country because of the potential harm it will inflict on the Nigerian economy and its citizens.
Arguing that using global market indices to fix prices in the down stream sector in Nigeria will further impoverish Nigerians, the NLC added that “our dependence on world market, which we have no control over, will make our economy and citizens vulnerable to world market fluctuations. This implies that Nigerians will continue to be at the mercy of the world market for the enjoyment of a product the country has been endowed with”.
The union argued that the 50 kobo reduction will not in any way rub- off positively on the living standard of Nigerians, adding that it does not see “how poverty levels will diminish as a result of this review. We demand further downward review of the price of petroleum products to take into consideration the conditions of living of Nigerians,” it demanded