—Asks FG to fix refineries before subsidy removal
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
AGAINST the backdrop of the proposed subsidy removal, the Trade Union Congress, TUC, has directed its state chapters to mobilize their members for a nationwide strike if the Federal Government goes ahead to deregulate petroleum product that would lead to subsidy removal.
The TUC also listed conditions that the government should fulfill before removing subsidy from the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol.
Among the conditions given by the labour center to the federal government before removing petrol subsidy is that the existing refineries in the country should first be fixed while new ones including modular refineries should be established.
It further told government to ensure effective policing of borders to stem the rate of petroleum products smuggling.
These were contained in the resolutions reached at the its National Executive Council, NEC,meeting held yesterday in Abuja.
The labour center further urged the government to review the privatisation of the power sector since the contracts have allegedly expired to ensure viability, job security and effectiveness of the sector.
The union said that the proposal by National Council of State on the final removal of subsidy on PMS as from June 2022 should take into consideration the attendant economic impact on the masses.
TUC said there must be assurances that refineries are fully overhauled and that
governments should put in place measures to ameliorate the suffering of the people through food security and infrastructural development.
It threatened that in the case that the Federal Government fails to meet the conditions, the TUC would have no other option than to direct its state Councils and affiliates to commence mobilisation of members for industrial actions against subsidy removal.
Recall that the National Economic Council, NEC chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and with the 36 States governors as members had on Thursday at its meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, deferred decision on subsidy removal till June.
But TUC in a communique issued at the end of its NEC, asked the federal government to take into consideration the attendant economic impact of final subsidy removal on the masses.
The communique, which was jointly signed by President of TUC, Quadri Olaleye and Secretary – General, Musa-Lawal Ozigii read: “The Proposal by National Economic Council on the final removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) as from June 2022 should take into consideration the attendant economic impact on the masses. There must be assurances that refineries are fully overhauled and establishment of modular refineries encouraged.
“NEC-in-Session insist that Federal Government MUST ensure that the conditions precedent put forward by the TUC on the deregulation of the downstream such as; the revitalization of existing refineries, establishment of new ones including modular refineries, effective policing of boarders to stem the rate of petroleum products smuggling, e t c are implemented.
“Finally, NEC-in-Session has mandated the Congress led by the President to take all necessary steps to ensure that these conditions are met before SUBSIDY is removed. Consequently, NEC-in-Session directs State Councils and affiliates to commence mobilisation of members for industrial actions against SUBSIDY removal without Government fulfilling conditions precedent.”
The congress also asked the federal and state governments to put in place measures to ameliorate the suffering of the people through food security and infrastructural development.
“While acknowledging the giant stride in rice production through various interventions of the Buhari’s administration, the Federal Government should ensure that price of rice in the market become affordable to the common man in order to justify the rice revolution policy of the administration.
“Federal Government must exhibit political will in its economic diversification programmes with major focus on agricultural production. The development of the agricultural value chain can create mass employment and put the country on the path of economic recovery and prosperity,” the communique reads.
The TUC urged its members nation-wide to obtain their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and ensure active participation in the democratic process ahead of 2023 general elections.
“Members are also urged to support the Political Commission of the Congress in creating groundswell awareness for providing leadership alternatives that deliver on democratic dividends and transformative governance to the people,” the communique added.