By Victor Ahiuma-Young
ABUJAâ€” THE Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has taken exception to the report credited to the Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, thatÂ fuel scarcity would persist unless the downstream sector of the petroleum industry is deregulated, describing such belief as not onlyÂ fallacious, but alsoÂ pre-emptive of the ongoing dialogue between government and Labour on the deregulation policy.
NLC in a statement by its President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, called on Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to sanction the minister and others like him who are found to be responsible for the current scarcity.
The statement read in part: â€œThe leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, is disturbed by the comment attributed to the Minister of Petroleum, Dr Rilwanu Lukman, on the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry and therefore urges the Acting President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, to caution him.
“Congress believes that the comment attributed to Dr Lukman is pre-emptive of the ongoing dialogue between government and Labour on the deregulation policy.
“Congress is of the strong opinion that Dr Lukmanâ€™s view that fuel scarcity will persist unless the downstream sector of the petroleum industry is deregulated is fallacious.
â€œThis comment confirms the position of Congress that the scarcity being witnessed since last year is created deliberately to force Nigerians to accept deregulation.
“We wish to emphasis once again that scarcity of products cannot be remedied by deregulation but by a conscious commitment of the agencies in charge of the oil industry to take the right actions, the most urgent of which is to ensure that all our refineries are producing at optimum capacity.
“The Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, and the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, in particular should be made to be more responsible by enforcing the official price regime and availability of products all over the country. “