By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Federal Government on Monday night announced the reduction of petrol price by N5 per litre.
But the reduction will take effect from next week Monday.
Recall that the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, had told the government negotiation team led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, that until the fuel price was taken back to the initial price, there would be no meaningful discussion.
At the Monday night social dialogue between the Federal Government and the organised labour, at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige said that an agreement was reached for a slight-down of fuel price.
However, the reduction did not interfere with the deregulation of the petroleum sector.
Senator Ngige, who briefed journalists after the meeting, said the price slide down would lead to a cut of about N5 per litre of petrol.
According to him, “This cut will take effect from next week Monday. This cut maintains the deregulation in the industry because it is not a cut on the price of petrol but a cut on the areas where the importers and the main importer, the NNPC have agreed that they can cut cost. Areas like demurrage, large freighting and other commercial areas of the pricing.
“We put in experts to do this for us and because we don’t want this hullabaloo all the time, we set up a committee that has members of labour and NNPC, PPRA, Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Finance, the unions, PENGASSEN, NUPENG, NLC, TUC to stand in, and this time, reappraising the market forces and every other thing that will make for stability in the industry.”
The minister directed members of the committee to liaise with all the marketers to make sure that the cap “is always maintained.”
He said the maintenance in cap would make some marketers to sell below the price of N162.44k, adding that the fuel price committee would report back to the main committee on January 2021.
On the proposed electricity tariff adjustment, Ngige said the electricity committee was still at work.
He said, “They have come down. There is a price now. They are now touring the DISCOS. They are going all over the country. They have been to Lagos. They have been in Ibadan. They are supposed to be in Kano now, but two members of the committee had taken ill and so, they could not continue.”
He, however, assured that the electricity committee would continue after yuletide and report back again on January 25, 2021.
Also speaking on the issue of palliatives, the Minister said, “The palliatives have been rolled out and all hands are on deck to see that the workers start getting the effects as quickly as possible.”
He announced plans by the Federal Government to engage many urban workers and give them stipends every month for the next twelve months as part of the conditional cash transfer.
Earlier in his remark, the SGF lauded the leadership of the organised labour for exhibiting spirit of collective bargaining and negotiation in spite of the demands of their office to cater for the welfare and good of their members.
He said that the overall interest of the nation has not been sacrificed in the negotiations undertaken in the last few months they had to deal with this issue.
Mustapha further said the peaceful resolution of the matter showed that the interest of the nation was fundamental and uppermost in their minds in finding a password to the issues that affect their people.
He also said that the primary responsibility of everyone in the negotiating table was to provide for the well being and good of the Nigerian people.
He commended the steadfastness of leaders of the organised labour to the negotiation, which he described as the hallmark of leadership and commitment to the good of the nation.
Other members of the Federal Government delegation were the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), his Petroleum counterpart, Timipriye Sylva, the Group Managing Director (GMD), NNPC, Mele kyari and the Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Ahmad Salihijo.
President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Quadri Olaleye led the organised labour to the meeting.