The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is set to meet with delegates of the Federal Government over the removal of fuel subsidy.
Joe Ajaero, the NLC President confirmed this on Wednesday while featuring on a Channels TV programme. According to Ajaero, the meeting is slated to hold at 2pm on Wednesday.
Bola Tinubu, Nigeria’s newly sworn-in President on Monday in his inaugural speech said there would be no more fuel subsidy. And hours after the speech, long queues returned to filling stations across the country amid fuel scarcity occasioned by panic buying and hoarding of premium motor spirit, otherwise called petrol, by fuel dealers.
“We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor.
“Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions,” Tinubu said on Monday.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the NLC expressed outrage at the declaration made by President Tinubu during his inaugural speech that the government would no longer subsidise fuel.
The NLC lamented that Tinubu’s declaration had returned queues to fuel stations, with petrol prices increased by as high as 300 per cent in some places in the country.In the statement, Ajaero recalled Tinubu was one of those who vehemently kicked against the government removal of fuel subsidy by the then President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in 2012.
The statement reads, “We at the Nigeria Labour are outraged by the pronouncement of President Bola Tinubu removing ‘fuel subsidy’ without due consultations with critical stakeholders or without putting in place palliative measures to cushion the harsh effects of the ‘subsidy removal’.
“Within hours of his pronouncement, the nation went into a tailspin due to a combination of service shutdowns and product price hike, in some places representing over 300 per cent price adjustment.”
“By his insensitive decision, President Tinubu on his inauguration day brought tears and sorrow to millions of Nigerians instead of hope. He equally devalued the quality of their lives by over 300 per cent and counting.
“It is no heroism to commit against the people this level of cruelty at any time, let alone on an inauguration day. If he is expecting a medal for taking this decision, he would certainly be disappointed to receive curses for the people of Nigeria consider this decision not only a slight but a big betrayal.
“On our part, we are staunchly opposed to this decision and are demanding and immediate withdrawal of this policy.
“The implications of this decision are grave for our security and well-being.”We wonder if President Tinubu gave a thought to why his predecessors in office refused to implement this highly injurious policy decision.
“We also wonder if he also forgot the words he penned down on January 8, 2012 but issued on January 11, 2012.”The NLC quoted part of what Tinubu wrote on the planned removal of fuel subsidy by the Jonathan government as thus: “Government claims the subsidy removal will create jobs. This is misleading. The stronger truth is that it will destroy more jobs than it creates. For every job it creates in the capital intensive petroleum sector, it will terminate several jobs in the rest of the labor intensive economy. Subsidy removal will increase costs across the board.
However, salaries will not increase. This means demand for goods will lessen as will sales volumes and overall economic activity. The removal will have a recessionary impact on the economy as a whole. While some will benefit from the removal, most will experience setback.
“What is doubtless is that the Jonathan tax will increase the price of petrol, transportation and most consumer items. With fuel prices increasing twofold or more, transportation costs will roughly double. Prices of food staples will increase between 25-50 percent.
Yet this is more than about cost figures. Most people’s incomes are low and stagnant. They have no way to augment revenue and little room to lower expenses for they know no luxuries; they are already tapped out. The only alternative they have is to fend as best they can, knowing they must somehow again subtract something from their already bare existence.”