*Urges govt to find immediate solution to long queues
*Alleges plans to hike petrol price
By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Organised Labour has rejected unending scarcity of petrol across the country and unapproved hike in price above N240 a liter in the country, urging the government to find immediate solution to shortage before things get out of hand.
In a statement, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and its Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, counterpart contended that no excuse was good enough for the shortage because no private individual or company was importing a litre of PMS into this Country.
According to NLC and TUC, “all products are imported by the government and there is no record whatsoever that the agency of government that is importing the products has added a kobo to the price it sells the products to the marketers”.
In the statement titled “Fuel shortages, price hike and avoidable long queues in filling stations are unacceptable and no longer tolerable”, President of NLC and TUC, Ayuba Wabba, and Festus Osifo, respectively, said “We are reliably informed that the shortage is deliberately fostered by players in the downstream sector in order to hike the price far above the government approved threshold.”
The statement reads “The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) are seriously bewildered and disturbed by the persistent shortage and uncontrollable prices that players in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry are meting out to Nigerians.
“The persistent shortages of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol in the country has become a source of pain to the Nigerian people. It has led not just to long avoidable queues but adulteration of the product by the unscrupulous elements; exploitation of the consumers, turning fuel stations to traffic menace.
“All these have tragic consequences for the Nigerian people and debilitating effects on the health of the economy which itself is not in a good state. We are reliably informed that the shortage is deliberately fostered by players in the downstream sector in order to hike the price far above the government approved threshold. It is an added problem when non-state actors begin to arrogate to themselves the power to determine the price of a liter of fuel far above the rate pegged by government in the current subsidy regime
“The Nigerian people and tax payers currently expense several trillions of Naira annually to subsidize petrol. The same people cannot be exploited and made to pay over N240 per liter when the current ex-depot price is currently fixed at N148.19k per liter. The opportunity cost of the subsidy payment is enormous and yet the benefit of the subsidy regime is gradually being eroded.
“No country develops when its people are subjected to perennials hardship and its industries are shackled by unnecessary chains of miseries.
“It is more disturbing that the government is equally demonstrating high level of culpability in the unwholesome situation by its silence and unwillingness to frontally and publicly address the harrowing experiences of Nigeria in the current situation because no concerned and responsive government will bury its head in the sands like the proverbial Ostrich while the citizens are being brutally exploited.
“For the records, no private individual or companies are importing a litre of PMS into this country, all products are imported by the government and there is no record whatsoever that the agency of government that is importing the products has added a kobo to the price it sells the products to the marketers.