By Victor Ahiuma-Young
The Federal Government shocked Organised Labour, last Thursday, by claiming the country will incur the wrath of International Monetary Fund, IMF, the World Bank and other international lending institutions Nigeria is indebted to, should electricity tariff and petrol pump price be reversed to the old rates.
A source at last Thursday’s meeting between the Federal Government representatives and leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, told Vanguard what transpired.
The source said that the government representatives confided in the labour leaders that the government hands were tied by international financial institutions that the country is indebted to.
According to the source, “The disclosure has confirmed the long belief that the Bretton Wood institutions have been responsible for most of the anti-people economic policies of our government.
“They told us point blank that Nigeria will incur the anger of the IMF, the World Bank and other international lending institutions that the country is indebted to.
“In fact, they refused to discuss the issue of price reversal and rather asked to nominate representatives on palliatives.
“It is obvious that they do not have the mandate to discuss the issue of price. We bluntly refused to nominate, which was the major cause of the stalemate of Thursday’s meeting.
“You could see that as against the usual practice where it was the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, announcing new prices of petroleum products, since the beginning of these so-called market-driven prices in March or thereabouts, it has been the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, an arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
“Again, unlike the PPPRA where Labour and other stakeholders have representatives in the board, stakeholders are not in the board of PPMC. It is only the Federal Government that appoints the management team.
“As you are aware, NLC has two representatives on the board of PPPRA.
“National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW; Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO; oil markers; NECA; Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and its Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, counterpart, are among the stakeholders in the board of PPPRA.”
Our the issue of electricity tariff, we have insisted that the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has become an agent for the government and private capital in the power sector.
“We demanded that Labour and other critical sectors must be members of the commission.”