As Nigerians are aggrieved due to increased pump price of petrol in this perilous time, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC has asked the Federal Government to revert to the N121 old price at which petrol was sold during the lockdown to control COVID -19.
The NLC said it rejected the new upward reviewed pricing band for the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS otherwise known as petrol.
The federal government on Wednesday through the Petroleum Pricing Marketing Company, PPMC increased the ex-depot price of petrol from N138 to NN151.56 per litre, triggering marketers to increase pump price from N148 to N162 per litre.
“We demand that the Federal Government reverts to the old price of N121 given during the lockdown associated with COVID-19 pandemic which Nigerians who were mainly confined in their houses hardly enjoyed.
“We also renew our call for a national conversation on the management of our oil assets which we insist must be in tandem with the provisions our country’s constitution which clearly mandates that the commanding heights of our national economy must be held by the government in the interest of the citizens of Nigeria,” the NLC said.
In a statement by its President, Ayuba Wabba, the NLC stated that the latest increase in the price of petrol was a crass display of complete apathy to the sufferings Nigerians are going through at this time.
Nigeria government, congress stated, is increasing taxes and hiking tariffs on essential goods at a time other countries also going through the blues of Covid-19 pandemic are reducing taxes, increasing welfare benefits and providing palliatives to their citizens.
The statement said: “It is disheartening that despite the gale of opposition by labour and Nigerians to the previous hike in the price of petrol, government went ahead to add scorpion to the scourges on the back of Nigerians. This is indeed a whole new level of government insincerity and insensitivity.
“This latest increase in the price of petrol is indeed a crass display of complete apathy to the sufferings Nigerians are going through at this time. While other countries also going through the blues of the Covid-19 pandemic are reducing taxes, increasing welfare benefits and providing palliatives to their citizens, our own government is reducing interest rates on savings by the poor, increasing taxes and hiking tariffs on essential goods and services. Nigerians have never had it so bad.
“It is sad that while poor Nigerians are being pilloried by the government of the day with obscene fiscal burdens, those connected to the highest echelons of political power are daily amassing public wealth and rubbing their illicit loot on our faces. Hobbesian state of living appears to be the perfect metaphor for the state of affair today in Nigeria.
“As we have always maintained, the Nigeria Labour Congress will never accept the transfer of government incompetence on Nigerians through hike in the pump price of petrol. The incompetence of government in this regard is particularly manifest by the rundown of our public refineries and resort to the unscrupulous economics of fuel importation.
“At the risk of shouting ourselves hoarse, we reiterate that the increase in the pump price of petrol is simply the cost of profits made by countries that have enough sense to maintain refineries that refine our crude oil, the cost of sea freight of refined petrol, the cost of demurrage at our seaports when the refined products arrive, the cost of frequent devaluation of our national currency, and the cost of official corruption by gatekeepers managing the downstream petroleum sub-sector. Nigerians have groaned to pay these unjust costs for years. This latest increase will be the last straw that would break the camel’s back.”
The NLC urged the government to fix the four refineries without delay.
“Finally, we demand that our four national petroleum refineries must be fixed without any further delay. Nigerian workers want to be appraised of the timeline set by government to ensure that this is effectively done.
“Nigeria belongs to all of us. Workers are major stakeholders in the Nigerian project. Nigerian workers and people must not only be treated fairly but must be seen to have been so treated by their government,” the statement added.