Labour demands reversal of fuel, electricity price increase

• Wants tangible palliatives for workers, Nigerians

The NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said the issue of fuel price increase deregulation has been recurring for so many years. He said: “With the very turning issue of fuel price hike, for us as an organisation this is one issue that has been re-occurring for so many years. I think the only difference at this point in time is COVID-19.

“At the level of NLC, we have done many publications interrogating this issue using the information provided by the government and also putting across options that will be pro-people and also will be able to address the issue.

“The fundamental principle underpinning PMS subsidy is the fact that wholly we import what we consume, and because of this, what also makes up the price includes issues like taxes, insurance, freights which if we are refining would have actually made the price to come down. This is one issue we have to deal with and government must summon the courage once and for all to address this issue and we have provided a lot of information for that to be addressed because the figure you gave us, N161, we don’t even know what constitutes the N161.

“Those issues that constitute the price is part of the inefficiency in the system which government hitherto has been paying and christened subsidy. The government cannot transfer the inefficiency to the people. Nigeria should refine its products.”

He added: “At this point, what do you have on the table to cushion the effects on workers, their families because they have been pushed to the wall and already at the edge. Do you have anything for us? So that we can now say that despite these challenges, this is what I have for Nigerian workers that they can be able to have something that can cushion this effect for them.

“Already the value of minimum wage had been eroded. The purchasing power parity, when you compare with all West African countries, we are already on the ground. That is the reality. In Ghana, compare their minimum wage with our own, in all West Africa countries, including Niger that has just started refining recently, they are now serving us with products. That is not how we ought to be.”

Also, the TUC President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, said the first solution is to reverse the fuel price hike and electricity tariff. He pointed out that the TUC had already written the Federal Government and gave a seven-day ultimatum for these demands to be met.

He said: “Government should take immediate steps to reverse the hike in prices as it affects electricity, petrol and all other social services in the country to the prices they were prior to the increase and provide adequate and quality healthcare and education for all to save the poor and the vulnerable at all levels.”

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