…urges govt to find immediate solution to long queues
…alleges plans to hike petrol price
By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Organised Labour has rejected the unending scarcity of petrol as well as the unapproved hike in the price which is above N240 a litre in the country, urging the government to find an immediate solution to the shortage before things get out of hand.
In a statement, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and its counterpart, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, argued that there is no excuse that good enough for the shortage because no private individual or companies are 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”, presidents 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 other to hike the price far above the government approved threshold.”
The statement read, “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, adulteration of the products by unscrupulous elements; exploitation of the consumers, and turning fuel stations into 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 other 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 litre of fuel far above the rate pegged by the 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 litre when the current ex-depot price is currently fixed at N148.19k per litre. The opportunity cost of the subsidy payment is enormous and yet the benefit of the subsidy regime is gradually been eroded.
“No country develops when its people are subjected to perennial 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. Then who is benefiting from this racketeering?
“We are strongly worried that leaving our energy security and sovereignty in the hands of unscrupulous capitalists and their collaborators will further plunge this nation into the economic abyss we are working hard to avoid.
“The labour, centres, therefore demand of the Federal Government an end to the avoidable, unnecessary, crippling and pain-inducing fuel shortages and unapproved price hike of up to N240 in the country. No excuse is good enough to cripple the country. If there are challenges, they should be fixed; we have a government in power to fix challenges not to make excuses.
“Organised Labour are ready and willing to engage the Federal Government and assist in all ways possible to overcome the country’s present challenges. But we caution it not to take either the labour movement or the Nigerian people for granted as it seems to be manifestly doing on various crucial national issues. Regulatory and law enforcement agencies should do more to protect the larger Nigeria society from exploitation.”