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NLC Rejects N617 Petrol Pump Price, Asks FG To Retrace It’s Steps

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…Accuse FG Of Robbing The Masses To Pay The Poor

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has asked the Federal Government not to take the silence of Nigerians for granted, and immediately retrace it’s steps from the path of upward review of petrol pump price.

Rejecting the new pump price of N617 in Abuja and the different increments in other parts of the country, the labour centre expressed worry that given the unregulated nature of petroluem products and the manner in which prices were being reviewed, the price of petrol may hot N1,000 per litre soon.

Congress warned that such an action poses a significant threat to the sovio-econimic wellbeing of the people who were already finding survival difficult due to the removal of subsidy by the current administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

NLC’s Head of Information and Public Affairs, Comrade Benson Upah who spoke to our Correspondent on Tuesday in Abuja, stated that Congress had initially warned that no reasonable government would leave its national currency entirely to the storms of the market, as such a move could lead to unintended consequences.

He said: “This increment is unacceptable to us at the Congress because it poses a significant threat to the socio-economic well-being of the citizenry, their businesses, incomes, livelihood, everything!

“The new pump price is suggestive of the fact that the pump price could rise to N1000 or more per a litre any time soon. It makes planning difficult and life uncertain!

“We are yet to be convinced how this is helpful to the people or the economy or how it renews the hope of the people.

“We advise the government to retrace its steps from this journey. The people are not happy. Their calmness should not be taken for granted. If Baby Steps inflict this level of pain, we wonder what Adult Steps would!”

Meanwhile, Congress has accused the federal government of threading the path of “dictatorship” and taking steps that tends to rob the masses to pay the rich.

Condemning governments failure to adopt social dialogue before taking certain decisions that bothers on the welfare and wellbeing of Nigerians in a democratic dispensation, the NLC in a statement signed by it’s President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, condemned the move by government to obtain a fresh loan of N500bn from the world bank to use as “palliatives,” from which huge sums have been calculated to end up in the pocket of members of the National Assembly and Judiciary.

The statement partly reads: “NLC strongly condemns the decision of the Tinubu led administration to seek the approval of the National Assembly to obtain another tranche of external loans worth N500b from the World Bank for the purposes of carrying out a phantom palliative measure to cushion the effect of its poorly thought-out hike in the prices of Premium Motor Spirit.

“Remember that the U$800m which was already proposed before the devaluation of the Naira by this government was worth about N400b then but is now worth about N650b after devaluation. It is from this, it proposes to bring out N500b for distribution.

“The proposal to pay N8,000 to each of the so-called 12 million poorest Nigerian
households for a period of six months insults our collective intelligence and makes
a mockery of our patience and abiding faith in social dialogue which the government may have alluded to albeit pretentiously.

“The further proposal to pay National Assembly members the sum of N70b and the
Judiciary N36b is the most insensitive, reckless and brazen diversion of our
collective patrimony into the pockets of public officers whose sworn responsibility
it is to protect our nation’s treasury. We believe that this may amount to hush money and outright bribery of the other arms of government to acquiesce the aberration.

“It is unconscionable that a government that has foisted so much hardship on the
people within nearly two months of coming into office will make a proposal that
clearly rewards the rich in public office to the detriment of the poor. What this means all this while is that the government is seeking ways of robbing the very poor Nigerians so that the rich can become richer.

“There is no other way to explain the proposal to pay a misery sum of N8,000 Naira to each of the mysterious poorest 12 million
Households for six months which amounts to N48,000 and pay just 469
National Legislators N70b or about N149m each while the Judiciary that has about
72 Appeal Court Judges, 33 National Industrial Court Judges, 75 Federal High Court
Judges and 21 Supreme Court Judges and a total of about 201 Judges receives a
total of N35b or N174m each. If these other two arms are projected to receive this,
what members of the Executive Council will receive is better left to the
imagination of Nigerians perhaps, the balance N150b will go to them.

“These proposals are not just unacceptable to Nigerian workers but are also
dictatorial thus undemocratic. It is not a product of social dialogue which would
have produced collectively negotiated outcomes by critical national stakeholders.”

NLC added, “We had thought that this government given the circumstances of its emergence ought to have been a stickler to all the preachments of the fine tenets of
democracy which would have shored up its image and begins to build legitimacy
for itself unfortunately, it seems to be in a hurry to abandon the remaining
pretensions to democracy that the previous administration left behind.

Furthermore, the actions of the federal government shows that it does not have
trust and confidence in the very Presidential Committee that it set up to take a
comprehensive look at the consequences of the Petroleum Product price hike and
make recommendations on the way forward to ameliorate its negative impacts
upon the citizenry.

“We reiterate that we do not have confidence in how the data for the never changing 12m poorest households was generated neither do we have confidence in the mechanisms being pursued for the distribution of the cash transfers. The history of such transfers especially the school feeding programmes even while the children were at home due to Covid-19 pandemic and the Trader Moni saga fills Nigerians with trepidation reminding us of the continued heist of our collective
resources by those in Public office.

“NLC would not want to continue to be part of the usual charade of Committees with outcomes that are never implemented. We would not want to waste the time of Nigerians especially workers on Committees that have already been programmed to fail thus ignored. We do not want to provide a cover for government to get away with the hardship it has imposed on the people. We do not want to legitimize impunity.

“As a result, if the government does not want to stop these fortuitous actions that
it is pursuing in the name of palliatives, we will be forced to constructively review
our engagement with the government on this vexatious issue and take matters in
our own hands.”

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