Fuel Subsidy: Group Warns NLC, TUC Over Planned Protest

Fuel Subsidy: Group Warns NLC, TUC Over Planned Protest

Mariam Sanni, Abuja

A group, Concern Citizen Project, Nigeria CCP, has cautioned the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress, TUC against the planned protest on the intended deregulation or removal of fuel subsidies by the Federal Government.

A press statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator, Dr. Bello Musa Gwani and the National Secretary, Sylvester Koni in Abuja, described the decision of the congress as misguided, unwise and self-defeating.

Gwani charged the leaders of NLC and TUC to rise up to their duties and stop playing to the gallery or the books of some elites who are benefitting immensely from the petroleum subsidy.

According to him, the intended strike and protest will put a halt on the operations of government offices, banks, shopping centres and schools, transportation workers and will also significantly affect the informal sectors including markets and local transportation services.

The CCP head said that this will also cause untold hardship on Nigerians and have a significant damaging effect on an already struggling economy.

He added that it might also paralyze the country of more than 200 million people, the majority of the citizens living on daily wage will be highly irrational.

‘’The planned protest by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) against the intended deregulation or removal of fuel subsidies by the Federal Government can be described as misguided, unwise and self-defeating. The leaders of NLC and TUC should rise up to their duties and stop playing to the gallery or the books of some elites who are benefitting immensely from the petroleum subsidy. NLC and TUC need to get their acts together by putting the future and survival of Nigeria first.

‘’Moreover, considering the delicate security situation in the country, it will be of great concern that provocateurs and anarchists can hijack such protests and demonstrations, or hide under the cover of protestors and promote discord, anarchy and unleash mayhem to the detriment of public peace. We have all witnessed how criminal elements hijacked the EndSARs protest, and the amount of looting and burning that took place, while turning into tribal violence and killings in some states. Similarly, politicians and other interests beyond the implementation of the deregulation policy can hijack the national protest to derive personal and selfish agendas. It is thus imperative for NLC and TUC leaders to avoid putting Nigeria in such a delicate security situation.

‘’For most oil producing countries, high oil prices means high government earnings, more spending on education, health, infrastructure, poverty alleviation etc. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Nigeria, as the high profit margin earned from high oil prices is largely swallowed by petroleum subsidies. If NLC and TUC leaders are not in terms with the proposed stoppage to paying petroleum subsidy despite the glaring evidence of the failure of the scheme, they can explore other avenues to prevent high petroleum prices in the country. One important option is to engage with the government to find a more suitable solution.

‘’For example by putting pressure on the government to revamp the three national refineries (in Kaduna, Warri and Port-Harcourt) which can play a significant role in easing the pressure on our forex reserve thus strengthening our currency. A strong Naira and local refining capacity will make the petroleum products cheap even without subsidies. In addition if these refineries are revamped, hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs will be created, thus creating a multiplier effect in the fight against poverty and the growth of our economy.

‘’In conclusion, it is very critical that NLC and TUC leadership to keep in mind that in pushing the interest of Nigerians forward, they need to choose options that will not worsen our security situation, is economically sustainable and that which will open brighter future to Nigeria’s economy and teaming populace – a  lot of which are unemployed. Also of note is that in a petroleum subsidy free system, when oil prices go low e.g. what happened in 2015-2017 Nigerians will equally pay for much cheaper petroleum prices than they were paying in a petroleum subsidy system,’’ he stated.


Tags assigned to this article:
fuel subsidy