The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), says Nigeria has no reason to continue the importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol to the country.
The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, said this while speaking with newsmen on the sideline of the 48th National Executive Council meeting of Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to him, organised labour movement has remained very consistent in its position about the issue of what we call fuel subsidy.
”The position of NLC is that Nigeria has no reason to continue to import refined products for domestic use particularly PMS because we have also found out that we are the only member country of OPEC that is doing that.
“It is an imposed policy on Nigeria, and our leaders must find a way and means to actually get us out of that imposition. We have made this point very clear that because of the devalued value of our currency, it then means that the policy of importation will continue to have a negative impact on consumers.
“We have seen that with kerosene, we have seen that also with diesel which our government has claimed that they have been fully deregulated, but the price has never been at the reach of ordinary Nigerians. Even the cooking gas, people are now using firewood.
“So, the position of NLC remains very consistent that we will be against any policy of removing subsidies in the name of deregulation if it is based on importation. We have said so, yet our refineries remain under lock and key. It is a patriotic position that many Nigerians have supported,” he said.
The NLC president also called on the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure that the amount agreed on the consolidated health salary structure is captured in the 2022 budget to avoid another round of industrial action in the health sector next year.
Wabba also said that the organised Labour movement would converge on Thursday to review many pronouncements made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the Federal Government through the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on fuel subsidy.
“We are going to meet tomorrow and next tomorrow at the level of the National Executive Council (NEC) to also review some of the pronouncements that have been made by the IMF, by the World Bank and, even by the Nigeria government through the Minister of Finance.
“There will be an official position of the NLC National Executive Council, which is composed of all our State Councils, Presidents and General Secretaries of our 49 affiliates.
“There will be an official statement and actions that will be line up to try to do proper engagement in order to make sure that they do not impose this policy on Nigerians.
“Today, the cost of goods and services have gone very spiral. Not too many families can have more than one meal on their table per day, therefore, increasing the price of this important commodity which will affect the life of every family.
“There are many factors that have not been considered. As I speak, in 49 countries around the world, energy is still subsidized. So, our own is about making the process transparent, which shall be part of the programme.
“It’s still a misery that despite the fact that diesel and kerosene have been deregulated, the price has never come down even when the price of crude oil at the international market was almost at zero dollar, the price never came back, Nigerians must realize that,” he said.
On his part, National President of MHWUN, Mr Biobelemoye Josiah, called on the Federal Government not to privatise some public health facilities, noting that it would use every available means to resist the move.