The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday warned the federal government against plans to remove the fuel subsidy in 2022, saying the action would be met with nationwide protests.
The congress said the protests would commence without warning should the FG announce new fuel prices ahead of its scheduled warning rallies in all the states of the federation in January.
These were some of the resolutions of the National Executive Council meeting of the NLC held at the Labour House, Abuja.
The FG had said it would remove the fuel subsidy next year, following advice by the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.
In its place, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said about 40 million poor Nigerians would be paid N5,000 monthly stipend for transportation.
According to a communiqué jointly signed by NLC President, Ayuba Wabba and General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja, the warning rallies against the planned fuel subsidy removal is slated for January 27, 2022 in all the states, “and would culminate in the submission of protest letters to all the 36 state governors.”
The NLC said a warning rally would also hold in Abuja on February 1.
The NLC argued that fuel subsidy would expose Nigerian workers and the generality of the citizenry to acute deprivation, hardship and suffering, as it would worsen the already established trend of hyperinflation in the country.
It attributed the crisis in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sub-sector, especially as it relates to the petrol pump price regime, to the policy of importation based on a pricing template for refined petroleum products as against local production-based pricing template.
The union submitted that the price of petrol and other refined petroleum products would continue to rise beyond the reach of average Nigerian workers and citizens as long as the pricing of refined petroleum products is based on importation pricing template, which is heavily dependent on a volatile foreign exchange rate that is heavily skewed against the Naira.
This, it noted, informed the traditional position of the Congress to reject an incessant increase in the pump price of petrol which is usually disguised as deregulation or removal of fuel subsidy.
The communique reads, “The NEC, therefore, resolved to reject and resist the planned increase in the pump price of petrol by the Federal Government.
“That government should promote local capacity to refine petroleum products for domestic use.”
The NLC also decried the trend of hyper-inflation in the prices of basic goods and services, especially essential commodities, including cooking gas and building materials such as cement.
In the communiqué, it urged government to adopt effective economic policies to halt the inflationary trend as it presents additional pressure on the lean income of Nigerian workers and other citizens “and has made life terribly unbearable for the poor masses of our country.”
NLC lamented that the crises of insecurity in Nigeria had deteriorated since its last NEC meeting.
The union also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.