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NLC vows to resist fuel price hike

by John Ocholi

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says workers would resist any hike in pump price of fuel in the name of petrol subsidy removal.

Ayuba Wabba, President of NLC, said this at the opening ceremony of the 18th edition of NLC Harmattan School, on Monday in Ilorin, Kwara State.

The theme of this year’s Harmattan School is “Expanding Nigeria’s Democratic Space for Trade Unions Organising in the World of Work.”

According to Wabba, “we will resist any price increase in the name of removal of subsidy. Let us look at the issue of subsidy.

“Subsidy is inefficiency, our inefficiency or inability to refine products. That is what we call subsidy.

“We said, we will not discuss anything subsidy. What they have told us is that the refineries will be fixed by 2023 and it will start production.

“So, once we start production, we can now come to the table and discuss the issue of subsidy. I think that is how to start the conversation and we are taking this issue very serious.

“Although there is nothing bad about subsidy, but in our case, it is shrouded in secrecy. It is not a transparent process, the consumption and all details are shrouded. This is typical of a capitalist economy.’’

The NLC president, however, called on the government to find a way of refining petrol and also put transparent structures in place to address the issue.

He noted that many countries had done it and are running those enterprises as enterprise of government and that the transparent process is working for them.

“If you privatise without transparent process like we have seen in the banks, which government has supported with public funds, but failed because they lack transparency and good governance templates, it will not work.

“This is what we have been arguing. Nigerians should reflect on this. Once you say you remove subsidy and you follow the trend of the diesel, it means it will be out of reach,’’ he said.

He also added that the price of diesel is almost N850 to N860, per litre, asking ”is it the same thing we want to apply to PMS? How many people can afford it”.

According to him, these are the very important questions that we need to interrogate and these are what Labour has been interrogating.

“So, we are not running away from and we have never run away or shy away from discussing the issue of subsidy. Whether there is or not, we can discuss it,’ he said.

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