…Says, it’s tired of fighting for price reduction
…Asks Nigerians to use their PVCs to get meaningful life
By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has given reasons it will not call out workers to protest ongoing fuel crisis across the country.
Rather, it challenged Nigerians to use their PVCs to choose a responsive government to make lives more meaningful
President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who spoke in Lagos, said NLC is tired of fighting for price reduction anytime there is petroleum products price hikes, lamenting that it has been a vicious cycle in the past 30 years.
Speaking to a cross section of Journalists, he said “Consistently, I think we are the only organization that has engaged in this issue for the past 30 years. We have gone beyond the issue of fixing the price of fuel or increasing it by reducing the price . We have gone to the level of engaging the policy because it is a neoliberal policy that has based our model on the import price mechanisms. We have said this is faulty. “We are the only oil-producing country that is practicing this model. We should emphasize the policy of refining and that is the policy the NLC has adopted. We are not ready to discuss the issue of whether increasing or reducing the price. It is model is faulty and we have gone through this for past 30 years.
“They increase, we shout they reduce, it is a faulty model imposed on us by the International Monetary Fund, IMF. We are not ready for price discussion now. But we are ready to engage the government on fixing refinery and also allowing enabling environment for other key players to build refineries. Luckily that seems to have paid off because they said the Port Harcourt refinery will be on stream again maybe in the first quarter of this year and also the private refinery.
“I think that is the way to go to and that will end the whole story of whether there is subsidy or not. If we are producing and refining here at home, a commodity that God has given us freely, then the issue of whether there is subsidy or not will not be used to confuse many Nigerians and should not be used to siphon funds. We believe that is what is important, what is strategic and what will be our argument this time around is to have our refinaries fixed.
“Yes, all of these things are happening at the eve of elections and we have made the point very clear, it is ill-timed and basically we (NLC) don’t want to be seen as part of the people that will also derail this present democratic dispensation. That is why we have resisted the issue of going on strike because we have seen people telling us to go on strike or close the economy. But have said no, doing so, that will mean to play into the hand of the people that don’t want democracy to work. We have said clearly that we will not be associated with such a move.
“We want to be associated with engagement of policies that will change the very negative narrative. All government that have come from 1999 to date they have not been able to change it. Their promises is well, we will remove subsidy.
If you remove subsidy what would happens?
We have seen the case of kerosene and diesel that they have removed subsidies hundred percent but are the products available, are they affordable? The obvious answer is no.
“So, for any person coming to say my agenda is to remove subsidy, is simply begging the issue. What do you have in place to replace the so-called subsidy you want to remove? Is it to go the same way diesel is going and sell petrol for N1000? As today a liter of diesel is hovering between N800 and N900. Is it affordable? Is that what we want? The answer is no. It is a wrong decision.
“What we want is that we can refine here at home through any means. In fact, the easiest product to is diesel. If we are able to harmonise and organise those that are refining diesel illegally, in the oil producing states it is obvious that we would have addressed 50 percent of the issue because if diesel is available and we can refine at home , it will be cheaper, we can now say this a model that work and we can adopt to address all these issues.
“Nevertheless, what is happening now is condemnable because many Nigerians have been made not to be productive because we spend a lot of man hour in the fuel . What is then the approach? The approach is to have our PVC to do what is right, that we are tired of promises not fulfilled. We have the opportunity with our voters card instead of going to the streets to disrupt the process of elections.
“We should go and use our PVCs to go and chose policies that are right, policies that can address those dislocations in our system and will bring meaningful life to many Nigerians. This is the approach.
“Our approach is to get our PVC and do what is right we are tired of failed promises. Every Nigerian should get their voters card to choose a right policy and that will bring meaningful life and this is the approach. We will not protest to disrupt the election.”
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