By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
The Kaduna State Government and leaders of the organized labour on Monday met over the fuel subsidy removal and announced the constitution of a Palliative Committee.
The Independent Petroleum Marketer Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), at the meeting, alleged that the fuel subsidy was a big fraud.
Governor Uba Sani and the labour leaders who spoke to journalists at the end of the meeting said the engagement was fruitful and a good way to start for the new government in Kaduna State.
Uba Sani said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had no option than to allow removal of the fuel subsidy because there was no provision for it in the current budget from 1st June, hence the need for the state government and labour leaders to work out palliative to cushion the effect on the masses.
“As Senator in the last four years, I know there is no provision for subsidy in the current budget from 1st June. So, the fact remains extremely complicated because the current President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is left with no option than to allow the removal of the subsidy because it is not even in the budget at all.”
“But, the most important thing and the reason I quickly called the labour leaders here this morning is because I know the crisis that will face the masses, the down-trodden because this is something that is sudden, and of course, as leaders, it is our responsibility to come with very important and robust palliative arrangements.”
“I believe we cannot do that, without the support and cooperation of the labour leaders, that is why they are here and we had a very sincere discussion where we all gave our positions and I am really happy with their inputs. “
“So, we have decided to quickly announce a committee comprising the labour leaders and governments officials to fashion out a kind of arrangement, where we will reach out to the down-trodden by way of supporting them with palliatives. So, the labour leaders are the ones that are close to the people, know the concerns of the people and the kind of palliative we need to come up with.”
“We cannot decide all these alone as a government and that is why we decided that whatever is in the interest of workers we have to carry the labour leaders along,” he said.
Secretary General IPMAN, Sadiq Yusuf, said that his association aligned with the state government on the palliatives issue.
“The entire fuel subsidy is a big fraud,” he alleged
‘We are here to create an understanding between the government and the stakeholders in the petroleum industry. As you may be aware, IPMAN Kaduna State chapter, has over 4,000 filling stations across the region, comprising the North western states.”
“We are representing this entire structure, with the understanding that, there is nothing good in having a volatile state like Kaduna to have a protest. And we sincerely appreciate the transparency and sincerity of the incumbent Governor, Senator Uba Sani for his understanding of the magnitude of this protracted issue that has been lingering for decades.”
“We at the IPMAN level understand the intrigues in the subsidy payment. We told the Governor just now that, over N13.7trillion is being paid by the Federal Government of Nigeria in order to pay subsidies. And in 2012, the Federal Government set up a committee and realized over $6billion fraud in subsidy payment for over two years.”
“So, what we are saying is that, the entire subsidy is a big fraud to our own understanding. So, we are with the government and trying to inform and advise the government that, most sincerely, to create palliative immediately in other to alleviate the sufferings of the down-trodden.”
“We are comfortable that the state government with the collaboration of our able leader, Honourable Abdulfatah Murtala will surely realize what subsidy by bringing the palliative to the down-trodden immediately. In the great understanding of His Excellency, he directed an instant committee on palliative be put in place and start working instantly.”
“We sincerely thank him for this gesture. We believe the people of Kaduna State will see succour immediately in term of subsidy removal,” he said.
The Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Ayuba Magaji Suleiman and Comrade Abdullahi Danfulani respectively were happy with the deliberations.
They, however, said it was their national bodies that had a say on the planned industrial action.