Labour: Governors’ N408.5/litre fuel price provocative

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed strong opposition to state governors’ proposal of raising petrol price from N165/litre to N408.5/litre.

The 36 state governors acting under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) had set up a committee which had on Wednesday last week called for immediate removal of petrol subsidy and a petrol price of between and N380/litre and N408.5/litre.

The NLC described the recommendation by the governors as provocative, arbitrary and insensitive to the current economic realities in the country and the extreme hardship that Nigerians, especially workers are going through.

The Congress stated that any increase by even one cent in the price of petroleum products, especially petrol “will attract an immediate withdrawal of services by Nigerian workers all over the country without any further notice.’’

According to a communiqué issued by the National Executive Committee of the NLC after its meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the congress resolved to write officially to the Federal Government about the plight and concerns of workers on the NGF proposals as well as its stance on the matter.

A statement signed by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba and the acting General Secretary, Ismail Bello reiterated that the congress still stands solidly by its decision taken at its meeting on February 17, 2021, to reject further increases in the price of refined petroleum products.

The NEC also re-echoed its decision that the only sustainable way out of the crisis of fuel importation and associated dislocations in the downstream petroleum subsector was for the government to rehabilitate all four public refineries in the country and build new ones.

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The NLC said there is currently no negotiation with the government over fuel price increase, adding that the last meeting with the government in February 2021 was adjourned indefinitely.

The communiqué reads: “The NEC-in-Session also viewed the proposal by the Nigeria Governors Forum for a 300 per cent increase in the price of petrol as the height of provocation, arbitrariness, detachment and insensitivity to the current economic realities in the country and the extreme hardship that Nigerians, especially workers are going through.

“The NEC also noted that there is currently no negotiation with government over fuel price increase. The NEC recalled that the last meeting with government in February 2021 was adjourned sine die. Since then, no other meeting has been called by government.

“The NEC resolved that any decision to increase by even one cent the price of refined petroleum products, especially petrol will attract an immediate withdrawal of services by Nigerian workers all over the country without any further notice.”

On the ongoing 1999 Constitution review, NEC called on the National Assembly to retain labour administration, National Minimum Wage, pension and industrial relations on the Exclusive Legislative List.

The meeting described as successful the suspended industrial action and protests in Kaduna over the sacking of 45,000 workers by the state government.

It added that it was open to engaging the Kaduna State government on an amicable resolution of the situation in a manner consistent with the law, especially section 20 of the Labour Act.

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